We made a pact when we relocated to Buenos Aires to never complain about the heat. We were warned by locals before we came that January can be the hottest month of the year. And so far they’ve been true to their word.
Sunday was the hottest day since we arrived more than three months ago. It nudged, if not surpassed, the forecast high of 36C. But we’re not complaining (nope – not even a little).
I’ve always been one of those people who would much rather get into a car that has been baking in the sun than brush off a car entombed in a snowy crypt that takes forever to warm up.
I’ve been pretty mindful not to make too big a deal on social media and in emails home about how
nice awesome the weather is here. Having been a person stuck in winter, I know how it feels to hear from people gloating when they’re vacationing on a beach or living in a warm weather locale. It’s downright disrespectful to those who must endure Canada’s harsh, miserable winters.
So excuse me when I say we spend as much time as possible outdoors.
But we do have our hardships. Here’s just one: We rely on both the Yahoo and iPhone weather apps to help give us an idea of what to expect for weather. It seems they rely on the same lousy meteorologists who try to predict Canadian weather. They’re pretty good about getting the temperature right. They just can’t seem to nail if it will rain or not.
I haven’t seen rain in weeks. It seems that every other day those meteorologists (who I’m convinced moonlight out of a call centre in India) will call for a chance for rain with an hour-by-hour breakdown. 10%, 50%, 85% – random numbers. In fact, often it will say there is a thundershower happening at the very moment we are walking outside and there isn’t a cloud in the sky.
Forget about technology. We now just observe locals to get a sense of what to expect for the day. If people are walking to their bus with umbrellas and it’s currently sunny it WILL rain later. If it’s cloudy and no one is carrying an umbrella, it WON’T rain.
We also pay attention to hoards of street vendors. The guy who whips up eggs and meats and whatnot on his sidewalk grill won’t set up his entire vending contraption if it’s going to rain. Nor will the fruit and veggie seller stack up their offerings in crates on the sidewalk. Nor the flower peddler with their buckets of jasmine and roses. Very likely because they come from a long line of egg-grillin’, veggie sellin’, flower-peddlin’ people who know them some weather. They know. Yahoo does not!
Okay, so we’ve established that it gets smoking hot here. But before you begin to pity us, let me confess that we have air conditioning. The thing with AC is that it can give you a very false sense of what’s going on outside. The little units in each of our rooms whir away day and night to keep us at a comfortable 23C. Just nice enough to fool us.
The harsh reality sets in the minute we open the door and a thick wall of heat has us rethinking any and all outdoor activities. With our AC, “Netflix and chill” takes on a completely different meaning here.
But venture outside we do. A bounty of large trees providing copious shade along sidewalks are among the many things for which we are grateful. Add to that an ever present breeze that sweeps up the large avenue and sidewalks by our building.
Remember when I described the unpredictable, haphazard way in which locals navigate the sidewalks? Well, now that air conditioning season is upon us, there is an added obstacle we’re all trying to avoid on sidewalks. No matter where you go nor which side of the street, there is a steady stream of mist and droplets of water coming from the countless air conditioning units precariously perched overhead on balconies and sides of buildings. This “rain” from above is the price we all pay for being able to sleep at night.
And contrary to my earlier report, people here do wear shorts – much more so in our neighbourhood than in the barrios closer to the business district. Wearing shorts is another thing for which we’re grateful.
Next up: Tidal wave of inflation