Monday, March 11, 2013

The Heat is On!

I have never been able to tolerate heat well. Even when I was young and thin, I would much rather have been too cold than too hot. Now that I am fat, it's like walking around with a snowsuit that I can't take off. 

Normally, I live in a part of the world that seldom exceeds 75 degrees. The days warmer than 80 in any given year can be counted on the fingers of both hands, and I like it that way. Here in Oaxaca, the days UNDER 80 degrees can be counted - well, ok, on fingers and toes. The last two weeks, daytime highs have hovered in the high nineties. 

Our room is on the southwest corner of the house. The concrete walls absorb heat all the livelong day and radiate it to the interior. It's an absolute oven up here. Homero put in a small air conditioning unit that we brought with us from home, but even if I leave it running from sunup to sundown, it can only bring the temperature in the room down to the low eighties. And of course I don't leave it running all the time, because I live in dread that it will break down. 

Yesterday we went to the waterpark. There is a wonderful waterslide park about 40 minutes away, and entrance is very affordable at 70 pesos apiece. On a day like yesterday, I would have paid five times that amount and been glad. The water in the pools is cool, even cold in the deepest pool. The slides are fun, and they sell beer. What's not to like?

This picture was taken back in October, when it was really too cold for swimming for long. See the thunderclouds? We were the only ones there. Yesterday the park was packed. They recently opened a new slide - it's five stories high and you go down on a kind of styrofoam blanket. Homero and Hopie did it, but Paloma and I decided we'd be just fine watching from the pool, thanks. 

Between our house and the waterpark is the town of Tlacolula. Normally a rather sleepy burg (worth a visit for it's amazing 17th century church), the town comes alive in a big way on sundays,. which is market day. Booths line the streets of the entire downtown, and farmers come in from all over the countryside to offer their wares. You can get anything you need there - if it's available in Oaxaca at all, it will be available in Tlacolula on market day. We went in search of a big wicker basket to serve as a clothes hamper (found - 80 pesos) and a present for my niece, who's birthday is tomorrow. 

We bought her one of these gorgeous colorful aprons, which is the traditional dress of women in Tlacolula, along with an equally colorful headscarf. I want one of these for myself, I'll get one before I go home. 

It being nearly Easter, the market was also offering brightly dyed baby chicks. The girls pestered us and pestered us but we said no. The chicks only cost 10 pesos apiece, which would be a smoking deal if they had a snowball's chance of hell of living to adulthood. Not likely, the poor little things. The girls had to settle for a photo.

It wasn't until evening that I realized I had myself a raging sunburn. That's the way of sunburns, they never show themselves until the sun goes down and it's too late. I've learned, too that the sun at 17 degrees of latitude is not the same as the sun at 49 degrees, even when the temperatures are equal. So at 85 degrees, for example, I am still going to burn faster down here than I would at 85 degrees back home, because the rays are more direct. With my skin, I can stay outside for about 5 minutes before I start to burn. Yesterday we were swimming and playing for several hours. I used sunscreen, but like the air conditioner, it just can't keep up.


  1. Aimee you would not survive here in Oz. The heat during summer is becoming more fierce as I grow older. I'm sure. Today is much cooler (thank you) it is about 25C, but, the last couple of weeks we have had days of 42C, 40c and the rest in the very high 30's. We have had 12 days straight. I think 37C is equal to 100F.
    Now those little chicks, aren't they so cute? I caved into my youngsters (many years ago) and bought them some. From there the story is very sad, I'm sure you did the right thing not to let them have some.

  2. Olive you are right, I am
    Not cut out for life in Oz. if I am ever lucky enough to visit - which i hope I am someday - I will come in the winter.

  3. My north European blood isn't cut out for heat, either. If I never saw 85 degrees again, I'd die happy. That said, it's 19 degrees outside this morning, which seems a little cool for mid March.

  4. Thank god I'm from Florida or the tierra caliente would have killed me lol it sounds like Oaxaca's climate luckily my new Mexican home in the estado due mex never gets hotter than 78 in summer but then I walk around crying from cold ya just can't win