What a great idea!  That’s the thought that rattled around in my mind while stepping into the Hong Kong Market shopping center. We stumbled across this large shopping mall while driving around Houston on a familiarization tour.

It was hot outside.  The temperatures were around 93 degrees.  It was hot enough to make us Californians push that thought to the top of our thinking list.

We could feel the heat not only around us but also reflecting off of the light-colored outside walkway.  That’s when an idea of indoor shopping seemed brilliant.  People are drawn to the comfort of air conditioning in regions like this.

This idea wasn’t just for the convenience of all of us shoppers.  Instead, it went way beyond that and became an attraction.  Now, this shopping mall was definitely a destination for people when the weather became too hot. 

When we escaped the rising temperatures and stepped into the climate controlled mall, the relief was self-evident.  People were all the same.  They paused and removed their highly protective UV sun glasses and smiled.

If they were with a spouse for friends, they would smile, laugh and act as if rejuvenated.  I didn’t do a scientific survey but I did pay attention to how Yvonne and I were behaving.  It was comical.

I have years of experience in the cold areas of the USA.  People there were the same but acted this way in the other season of the year.  When the snow on the ground turned our world into an open refrigerator or freezer, we’d head to the mall where the furnace was turned up to a comfortable balmy summer-like level.

Instead of taking off our sunglasses, we’d pause at the locker-for-hire kiosk and strip down from our down parka, scarves, gloves and fox-lined hats.  Then, in short-sleeve shirts we would wander the shops until it was time to head back into the blizzard.  It’s all the same, just different parts of the year.

For the time being I was enjoying the respite from the 90 plus heat.  All of the stores were Asian.  That was fascinating.  It was Chinatown on steroids.

The food court was fascinating.  Clothing stores tempted you to put your sunglasses back on.  Travel stores seemed to have the same theme of Asian-esque destinations in common.

Indoor air conditioning is how you spell relief.  Whoever invented this system of climate control was divinely blessed.  Now, so are we.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography