Tag Archive: winter


The first time I felt cold, or at least to the extent where I felt goosebumps, was the night that I had my first Mexican street party. I remember it so vividly because it was such a strange sensation; a foreign concept. I thought I’d left that feeling behind in England, but the cold reared its ugly head in the form of raised bumps on my skin. It was night time, and I was armed with just a t-shirt. I wrote it off as just a freak occurrence and I shoved it to the back of my mind. School-boy error, I should’ve taken heed.

That Monday at school, I saw most of the students wrapped up in body warmers, scarfs and gloves. “Muuuuuy frio, teacher, it’s very cold,” they complained. I chuckled and said that they needed to come to England, because a consistent temperature of 20-oddC with sunshine is pretty much regarded as the height of summer in the UK. If the temperature averages 28C or more over a period of time, then hold the front page – there’s a heat wave in the UK and it is endlessly compared to other countries that it’s hotter than. People are happier and friendlier, there’s a party vibe in the atmosphere, the BBQs are out, the parks are packed with sun revellers, and everything is well in the world, generally speaking. But I digress.

Nevertheless, even though I rationally knew this, and no matter how stubborn I was about accepting this fact, I too eventually succumbed to this change of temperature and I also began to feel cold – damn it! I had to start wearing shoes and trainers instead of sandals. My feet felt restricted; they were definitely not accustomed to the concept of closed shoes. I needed to layer up and wear jumpers, but I only brought two jumpers with me. I had to buy a duvet for my bed (that was devastating!). I got my friend, who visited me for a couple of weeks, to bring some jeans from home for me. I had acclimatised so much, that the lowest temperature, I believe 15C, was now too cold for me. The mornings and evenings were particularly cold, the daytime was fine.

In the end, I ended up with a chest infection and a throat infection. I think the throat infection was a result of the use of the air conditioners though when it started to get hot again. Even so, I paid $500 pesos (approximately £20) for the privilege of seeing a doctor each time, even though I wasn’t in there for more than 15 mins. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a lot considering the wage I’m on; for most Mexicans that is simply unaffordable. Also the fact that it’s free to see the doctor in the UK made the amount that I had to pay hurt even more – oh how I missed the NHS during those desperate times; I’ve grown a new appreciation for it. Not to mention the money that I needed to buy the medicine, some of it was not cheap. I later found out that there were cheaper doctors that I could’ve gone to, but in terms of the quality of service they provide, I’ve been told that some of them are hit or miss. Generic drugs, which are cheaper to buy, are also available from a chain of pharmacies called Farmacias Similares.

Let’s hope I learnt my lesson and that I’m more prepared the second-time round…


Tis the season…

It’s that time of year again. The days are getting darker and shorter. The temperature noticeably drops, and you are desperately trying to defend yourself against the common cold. But it soon dawns on you that you’re fighting a losing battle.

Your nose starts to tickle you, ever so slightly. That slight irritation in your throat suddenly morphs into a diabolical brute of a thing living at the back of your throat, which thrives off causing you as much pain as possible just for its own pleasure. Nasal fluid starts to trickle down your nostrils and as the flow becomes heavier, you sniff and swallow often to try and force back those tides. You long for that person to kiss your throat better in the back of a black cab, just like in that old cough sweet advert.

It’s at this point where you overdose on vitamin C tablets (fruit for the those who are more health conscious) or on legalised drugs you can buy over the counter, and this works for a while.

Your problem, however, is other people and the germs that they are carrying and spreading around. At work, on the tube, on the bus and even in your own home you’re surrounded by symphony of coughs, sneezes, and sniffles. Hoarse coughs, high-pitched sneezes, stifled coughs, resonating sneezes, mucus-filled coughs, ‘barking’ coughs- You. Are. Under. Attack!!!!!

Don’t get me wrong, I am sympathetic towards people who are ill. I was that sickly, frail person at university, who was susceptible to all sorts of illnesses, until working on the streets as a ‘chugger’ (aka charity mugger, aka charity fundraiser) toughened me.

As I write this, a lady on my left is trying to hold back her coughs, but by doing this she’s only making her cough worse. It’s so bad, in fact, that a stranger to her right is now offering her some kind of cough sweet, which is a nice gesture.

What I’m annoyed about are people who sneeze into their hands or just cough out loud and then touch the rails that you need to hold on to, or touch the buttons that you need to press. Stop it- I don’t want what you’ve got, thanks!

This is what I see every single time someone does that:

You are infecting me with your germs. ‘Catch it, bin it, kill it’ is more than a set of dance moves (and why that even came out in the first place, God only knows). Just do the thing that the NHS campaign is getting you to do. In fact, for a lesson on how to sneeze into a tissue, watch this:

So anyway, it is during this bleak time of the year when my hand sanitizer is my strength and my shield, but it does have its limitations.

One particular incident, which I would like to share with you, concerned me walking through the tunnel at Bank station to get the Central line. As I walked, the person in front of me sneezed the most dirtiest, wettest, spit-filled sneeze ever with their mouth wide open. I couldn’t stop myself in time, so I had to walk into that cloud of mess. I’m really not sure what’s worse, walking into someone’s sneeze, or walking into someone’s fart as you’re walking up the stairs. Both rate pretty high on my list of unpleasant/deeply disturbing experiences.

What also bugs me are the people who pick their nose, blatantly in front of everyone like it’s nobody’s business, as if they’re digging for gold. And they’re not fazed that you’re glaring at them to get them to stop. Nasty. (I do recognise that this point has nothing to do with someone having a cold, but I just had to publicly get that off my chest.)

Please, if you’re an offender to the crimes I’ve just outlined, just be a bit more considerate and stop these vile actions for humanity’s sake. Thank you.