My family and I traveled overseas for the first time when I was twelve. We traveled throughout the southern hemisphere by plane, train, and automobile. It was hot everywhere we went and only a few of the hotels had central air-conditioning. I wasn’t sure why my parents opted to stay at cheap hostels and furnished apartments since none of them were particularly comfortable. They were all cooled by small fans or window air-conditioners. And they were all rather dank and had the smell of old cooking. Many guests had passed through them before we did, that was for sure. They all looked lived-in, but not in the kind of way you might expect of permanent residents. They were run-down and trodden upon. They were like old shoes that had once been nice, but that no one cared about anymore. But on the second to last stop of our trip, we stayed at an old-world style hotel that had been completely renovated. It felt old and new at the same time, like a castle remade from the inside out. When we walked in from the heat outside, we could hear the soft humming of the air-conditioner blowing cool, crisp air throughout the marble and granite interior. Our room had its own temperature control system; the air-conditioning unit was located just out of sight behind a thin curtain next to the closet. The front-desk personnel let us know that an air-conditioning technician had just serviced our unit and that everything was in tip-top shape and ready for us to enjoy. And we certainly did since the temperature outside reached into the three-digits even before noon! The only complaint we had about our stay was that it sometimes got too cool. The air-conditioning was so efficient that we had to turn it off at night. By morning, however, we would be burning up again and were glad to switch the system on again. It felt like an arctic breeze in the middle of July. It was wonderful. I’ll never forget that last stay. I did also catch a cold from all of the temperature changes though.

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