Saturday, April 14, 2012

Living Here: The Heat is on its Way


A short while ago in my kitchen, at the back of the house facing the garden, I began to hear the satisfied coos and clucks of parrots deep in the shade, munching the abundant ripe pistachios on my neighbor's tree. They continued doing so as I sat before my laptop at the table to start writing this post.

It's a sign of the season.

Another signal is that I find myself watering the garden more often, and despite this, some plants wilt or curl their leaves in the afternoon. Starting in late April, and running through May and into June, Yucatán bakes.

I notice these sorts of things, feel the dampness of my skin, and acknowledge that the hot season is beginning. We haven't had a long run of blistering days yet, but the temperatures in Mérida and the surrounding area already have reached about 40 degrees Celsius, or 104F, a few times this spring. Soon temperatures will climb even higher, and stay that way for days or weeks at a stretch.

At this point in the year we start seeing more heat-related stories in the local paper. There was one last week about temperature records and predictions of a long, dry hot season.

This is this time when the wisdom of high ceilings, found here mostly in older buildings, becomes evident, at least for those of us who live without air conditioning. The extra height gives heat and humidity space to rise above head level, keeping inhabited space near the cool tile floors more comfortable.

And speaking of high places, now is the time to start sleeping in the the upstairs bedroom I built with large windows for cross-ventilation that take advantage of nightly breezes. Exposed to the sun, the room is hot during the day, but at night when opened up it's like a tree house, cool and airy.

To keep the rest of the place comfortable, I have at least one ceiling fan in every room of the house, and about now is when I begin running them most of the time.

And this is the season when most folks around here with access to a pool or the beach start taking advantage of it. Nothing beats the heat like cooling water.

It is also a good time for a getaway. I find the hot months the perfect for a visit with family in Alaska, or to see friends in the cooler highlands of central Mexico. Even a visit to my parents in South Florida, which when I lived in Alaska seemed terribly hot, now provides relief. If someone ever had predicted that I would view a trip to Florida as a respite from the heat, I would never have believed them.

Related posts:

HeatI'm CoolPool TimeThe Rains are Here -- Almost

18 comments:

  1. We'll be there one week from tomorrow. It's been way too long. It's still a bit cool in Virginia, so I look forward to the heat and the pool.

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    1. I look forward to visiting with you. We can commiserate about the weather. See you soon.

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  2. Hmm. I am having no problem "seeing" this post. Did not disappear, but I do feel a little sweaty now just thinking about the heat of May in Mérida.

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    1. Fortunately a friend who saw my post about problems had a copy of my post in her Reader. I sweated for short while, but in the end was able to repost without too much trouble.

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  3. Somehow, you make unbearable heat sound quite appealing. Of course, if you've spent winter in Connecticut, you'll have forgotten what real heat feels like.

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    1. It's funny how much I like the heat now. As an Alaska kid, I used to hate it. Everything changes.

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  4. I think I know what did the Mayans in.
    Saludos,
    Francisco

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    1. The hot season here certainly would do me in if I couldn't afford a pool and lots of fans.

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  5. Mmmm, I remember the Yucatán heat well. Bathing in sweat, guzzling water, and never having to get up at night to go to the bathroom - in fact, hardly ever having to go to the bathroom!
    It's heating up here too, but it's dry heat and cracks in my skin have begun again. Watering every day now, soon twice a day too. Heat that you can actually see radiating in the air above the cobbled streets. Not my favorite time of year, but it heralds the rainy season and I must concentrate on that!
    Saludos,
    Marilyn

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    1. I very much look forward to the rainy season. It cools off, a little, but the humidity starts in. The good thing about that is that everything starts growing. I beleive I can actually see the plants grow once the rains start.

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  6. I couldn't tolerate the heat you have if it is any hotter then it was the first part of March when I was there.
    I DO remember growing up in Louisiana, which is just as humid, and loving the ceiling fans, attic fans and cross ventilation. That was before a/c anywhere.

    How great that you have that upstairs bedroom to enjoy those night breezes!

    Hope to see you "in the highlands" this summer!

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    1. Babs, the upstairs bedroom makes all the difference. I haven't measured (it might be fun to do so), but I believe that sometimes, at say 5:00AM, the upstairs is at least 20 degrees cooler than the upstairs because there is so much more air movement.

      I should be in your area this summer and hope to visit. I will let you know when I have travel plans.

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  7. Youe have to like Merida a lot to tolerate that humidity, of course, Merida is more than humid days (and nigths).

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    1. Absolutely. Mérida has a lot to offer, from cultural life to nearby beaches. It all helps keep the mind off the heat.

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  8. I love merida but i prefer the yucatan beaches, during the summer months

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    1. I am with you there. I don't get to the beach as often as I would like to, but it's the place to be in the summer. Then there's my make-believe beach, on the patio around the pool. Not too bad, either.

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  9. Thank's Mark for interesting story! My question is: What are the hottest month in Yucatan peninsula? And also want to ask: What month is hotter September or April in Merida?

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    1. Normally May and June are the hottest months of the year, from my experience. When rains start in June or so, things cool down a bit. April can be very hot, and is dry. September has the advantage of afternoon rains, which tend to cool things down.

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