It has been a few days since I have returned from the so-called City of Love, or City of Lights, I don’t know which is the true moniker but those are the two that I have heard of.
While I was away, I had been hearing and reading of reports of the annual haze that would blanket Singapore, and this year it seemed especially serious and bad, with the PSI hitting the 400-region, somewhere we have never ever come close to before. Even the last reported worst situation that took place in 1997, the highest-recorded reading was 200+ and I remembered back then, it was already very bad because I recalled being out in town and when the haze hit a bad patch, the burnt smell was choking and visibility was greatly reduced.
It wasn’t surprising then, that airport operations were affected, since planes need extra care in taking off and particularly landing, when visibility is compromised. The flight I returned on on Saturday morning was not delayed, but we had a rather bumpy landing. And it was pretty evident that the sky was blanketed in a cloud of grey, and perhaps I was being imaginative, but I thought I could already detect whiffs of the haze while still being in the plane as we waited for the doors to be opened. Standing in line at the taxi rank also afforded me a hazy view of the situation, and truly the air quality was bad. I couldn’t breathe properly, and was glad to shut the doors of the taxi and proceed home.
That morning, the haze was rather bad, though an improvement from the days before. I was also monitoring the PSI when I was still in Paris, even though there were some comments circulating online about the veracity of the published figures on NEA’s website, I guess it was still a gauge of how things were.
Thank God that the situation became better during the rest of Saturday, and from then until now, I kept praying that the winds will continue to stay in our favour. It’s unfortunate that our neighbour up-north is now bearing the brunt of the forest blazes, but I’m thankful we have clearer skies now. Despite that the weather is now extremely humid, a marked difference from before I left for Paris, I think we all would rather have just the humidity and enjoy clear blue skies with clean air. Before this episode, even if we always expect that haze to return each year during this warmest periods of our climate, we never imagined things would become so bad that at a point in time, there were so many people wearing masks out on the streets. Not even in Tokyo have I seen so many masked people.
The weather in Paris was unpredictable, alternating between bright sunny days and gloomy rainy days, with temperatures fluctuating from the 10s to high-20s. It was all very nice there, in terms of weather, and even the weekend I spent where we were blessed with glorious sunshine on both days. But I am still happy to be home; these are the days when I would appreciate home and my family. July is coming around soon, with half of 2013 almost gone. Time is passing too quickly…