Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pool Time


This is the one time of year when the weather forecasters in Yucatán can't go too far wrong. They could all take the next couple of months off and just send in the same report each day: It will be very, very hot.

Few would suspect they hadn't been checking instruments, satellite images and making observations because the prediction would invariably be right.

It is getting to be that season in Yucatán. It's pool time.

Earlier this week we had a couple of days in the 38 - 40 Celsius range, which for Fahrenheit people, is 100 degrees and above. As I began writing this yesterday afternoon, the temperature officially crept to 41.6C (nearly 107F). Although I don't think it reached quite that level at my place, it was pretty warm here.

Everything gets hot. Walls, furniture, clothes in the closet, toilet seats, the shower, drinking water...everything. A glass of iced tea left on a counter is no longer "iced" after about 20 minutes. A teacher friend of mine yesterday complained about how hot his classroom whiteboard was. Everyone is talking about it. Even the life-long locals have gotten into the act.

The newspaper notes that the temperatures this week have been abnormally high for the time of year. It also predicts a long run of high temperatures in April and May, which will be probably the hottest months of the year.

Mérida's principal daily newspaper, Diario de Yucatán in yesterday's front-page headline story predicted, "waves of heat." It is anticipated that in April we will to see 20 - 25 days above 40 degrees centigrade (above 104F). Spring typically is the hottest time of year here because daily rains, which cool things down, don't kick in until about June. This year the experts see little chance of rain until then, so the next two months will be particularly sweltering.

I wrote last year about living with the heat, and am putting into practice all of my regular strategies for dealing with the high temperatures. But it's early in the season. I'm not quite with the rhythm of the weather yet.

My solution to this situation? Pool time. I jump in at the break of day to shake away the sleep and get a fresh start. The heat of the afternoon is the most important time to cool off. And, a cool dip before bed eases me more gently into sleep.

It's nice to share pool time with friends. Yesterday I invited my friend Alondra and her not quite two-year-old daughter Aurora to stop by and cool off. Aurora has no fear of the water, so she is making great progress toward being an early swimmer. She enjoys a dunking and knows how to close her mouth and blow bubbles to keep from taking in water. Aurora loves to get wet and splash the adults -- which at these temperatures is a great pleasure for us.

I think I wrote last year that when I renovated my house there was only enough room left in the budget for a pool or for air conditioning. I opted for a pool, and after about five years now still have not gotten around to putting in the AC. The pool has worked out wonderfully.


  1. What a perfect solution to the heat! You made the right choice. I can just feel that sopping wet weight on my clothes, hair, and skin. Lordy lordy lordy There are so many places in Mexico I'd like to live - were it not for just this that you write about.
    I need a new place to live in MX, this one has and is being ruined at breakneck speed. Just found out about a new project of 800 casitas going in on the highway just above Ajijic. I can't take it anymore. Going to Chiapas next month to see if that would work. Nice post, thanks.

  2. June, I like having all the plants around the pool. It makes it feel like a lagoon in the back yard. Actually, although it looks huge in the pictures, it's pretty small. The low angle and wide angle lens make it look huge. It's large enough to share, small enough to be managebale.

  3. MT: Sorry to hear that you are getting crowded out in your area. Chiapas could be a good alternative. There are cool areas there and it's very green. I have always been very partial to Querétaro, which has a great climate and lots to do, although if you like being near water it might not be your choice. The area around Patzcuaro, Michoacan is beautiful, green, with cool weather and lakes. And, there's Yucatán, which is lovely and very mellow, but you have to learn to love the heat. That's not impossible: I am from Alaska and I am doing fine.

    There are lots of choices. You will find something to your liking.

  4. If that is the back of your house, I love the look of it. The two shuttered doors seem poised to grab the breeze, funneling it into the house. The pictures could be anywhere - a tropical island, a desert oasis, Merida Yucatan. Beautiful.

    And what a lovely pool! Does the water flow over the edge? (intentionally, to a catch system, I mean)

  5. Rusty, yes that's the house. The upstairs windows were designed to capture the breeze. There are two more opposite the ones you see in the photo to allow cross-ventilation. it makes even hot nights bearable, most of the time.

    The pool is not intentionally designed with a catch system for the overflowing water. I fill it to the top occasionally and let it overflow for a few minutes to float off dust and debris. This has the added benefit of watering the garden areas along the sides.


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