On my first visit to the USA, I encountered air conditioning for the first time. A brand-new strange experience for me at the time.
Visiting very hot areas of the country, I was bemused by the fact that I seemed to swan from the air-conditioned house into the air
conditions shop and offices, churches, and evening shopping malls it confused my body
The question from my American friends was why is this so surprising to you? Do you not have Aircon in the UK. At the time it was rare I have to say, what do you do to cool down your house and the car was the big question. Simple was my answer, open the window.
My first visit to the US was by myself, next visit I took my wife, we went to Florida, she wanted to go quickly and buy a cardigan as she noted everywhere is so cold. That comment in Sunny, very hot Florida. The thing is that my American cousins tend to like it cold, so they turn the AC down to a point where the poor Brits are going to freeze, at least they think that they are.
At that time my American friends came to visit us in the UK, I have to say got fed up with Sandwiches, Salads, warm beer and they could not understand how when they asked for a ‘soda’ an unknown word at that time, you needed then to ask for the brand name, Pepsi, Coke, or whatever which would be taken, to the horror or the American of the shelf. How come it’s not cold was always the cry.
Worse was to come, they discovered in central London that when they asked vendors for a coke or whenever, and the asked for ice, they discovered that they were charged more money for the ice, I have to say even I think that is a con and not and air-con.
It has, of course, all changed, we have if you like caught up. My car has Air conditioning, our shopping malls have air-con, our shops, many of them are air-conditioned, most of the restaurants have it too. Ice no longer attracts an extra charge and most drinks are served from a cold vending position.
I have to tell you though, it would still be unusual to find air conditioning in houses, we still just open the window, the UK is often not hot enough t need it, we often joke that summer only comes one day a year. So why would we need air con? We are more concerned about keeping the house warm, and that is an expense.
Recently I was in hot Qatar, 50degrees Centigrade, yet I was sitting outside a coffee bar sipping my coffee on the street and cool as well. How you ask because we were surrounded by air conditioning units all blasting away, I did wonder about the cost, but as it’s a huge oil-producing country I guess they were not too bothered about that.
I do wonder however for the world at large, never mind the financial cost, what is all our air condition and heating costing the environment?
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