Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cool, Cool Florida

On this street we lived for four air-conditioned years
When I was 13 years old we, an Alaska family, moved to South Florida. For about the first year or so I really thought I might die. It seemed so incredibly hot.

The whole family felt much the same. We kept the house central air conditioning temperature set very low and spent a lot of time inside except perhaps in the evening or to go to a nearby pool. When we had to go out we ran to the Oldsmobile, which normally had its AC cranked up so high that the noise of the fan made it difficult to talk. Sometimes the kids battled over who got to sit in front between Mom and Dad, where the center vent blew freezing air into the lucky kid's face hard enough to make one's hair fly. We loved that.

Thanks to my parents' ability to afford our electric bills, we survived in Florida for four years. Then we moved back to Alaska, and I did not expect to live in another hot place, ever again.

Now as a ten-year full time resident of Mérida, it's interesting to see how I have adapted. Until just a few months ago I have lived here, a place hotter than South Florida, without air-conditioning at all. Now that I have AC in the bedroom, I still use it only occasionally.

My sister came around, too. After a few decades of feeling always cold in Alaska, she and my brother-in-law moved back to Florida several years ago.

Now, strangely, I find myself looking forward to my visits to see them in Florida as a respite from the heat. Particularly this time of year, when the Yucatán temperatures hit their peak.

The weather in Mérida has been reaching about 39 - 40 Celsius (102 - 104F) lately, and the forecasters say it will get quite a bit hotter later in the week, possibly as high as 45C, which is around 113 on the Fahrenheit scale. Today's edition of Mérida's Diario de Yucatán featured the banner, "Yucatán arderá," "Yucatán will burn." This morning's headline story tells us that record temperatures will be set in coming days.

I find it interesting that I often look forward to a Florida visit as a cool break from the Yucatán's blast-furnace heat. It points out how flexible we can be, and how much I've changed.


Text and images copyright 2015 by Marc Olson

20 comments:

  1. I went to Arizona in August a few years ago, the highs were in the high teens-oh my! The
    " oh but it's a dry heat" is a load of poppycock. We see 100 here in Ohio every few years and that is more than enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One hundred is hot, but I have adapted here to it and rarely switch on the air this time of year. I am more interested in air conditioning later, when the rains start and it gets damp. I find I can sleep in the heat as long as it's dry. When everything is sticky I need the help.

      Delete
  2. Wow! Reminds me of Louisiana, where one could look pristine inside the air conditioned house and on the way to the car, become a rumpled, sweaty mess in five minutes. I hope to NEVER live in humidity, along with heat. I've never lived anywhere in my life where the weather is as wonderful as San Miguel except for Jan and Feb, which I think is cold. I detest air conditioning after living with it for 49 years. Come visit here Marc, it is quite lovely. It's about 65 as I write this at 10:52AM.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps I will see you in thi ssummer, Babs. As you recall when visiting cool Querétaro in the summer I have come over to SMA a couple of times to lunch with you. I ought to be doing that again this year.

      Delete
  3. PS Love the photo of Florida and the magnificent tree in the left side of the photo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a lovely area. I liked it despite of the heat, but now, having adapted to hot climates, when I visit I enjoy it more.

      Delete
  4. After retiring, I have essentially spent my last eight winters in Merida. My greatest fear was handling the heat everyone spoke of. The past four years our U.S. home has been in Florida. Something has changed. I am chilly most of the time now in Orlando. During Christmas I am basically freezing. I long for heat and humidity. Who would have thought?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are similar in that, Paul. The ability to adapt to a wide range of habitats and conditions is one of the reasons humans have been so "successful."

      Another interesting aspect of this for me is that although one would suspect that I no longer could handle the cold in Alaska, I seem to be unaffected. I still am an Alaska boy and remain quite comfortable in cold weather as well.

      Delete
  5. Interesting point. Over the past few years, I have learned a lot about myself: I am far more flexible with weather than I thought I was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd never have believed I am living comfortably in this climate. I wonder if it has something do do with maturity.

      Delete
  6. I am going to Florida in July and apAugust again this year to escape the Oklahoma heat. Yucatan was better than Tulsa in the summer. A dipping pool, here, there, or in FL is a game changer. Love that photo, by the way. That tree! Amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosh, Lynette, Florida is so close. Take a jump across the pond and come for a visit.

      Delete
  7. Mark, its good to be reading your blog agn. Smokesilver

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks...I hope to post more regularly again. I enjoy hearing from everyone here in the comments and by email.

      Delete
  8. I truly love Mérida, but I don't think I could handle the heat in the springtime there. Right now I am in Mexico City. The temperatures are in the mid 80s, and everyone is saying how hot it is! (I'm actually seeing people wearing shorts.)
    When I was a teenager we lived in southern Florida for a year. There were days that were miserably hot and humid, but also days in the winter when we were freezing because the house had no central heating.
    And as for my home state of Ohio... for a good portion of this winter we were colder than most of Alaska!
    I guess where ever you might be, you just have to grin and bear the weather that is dealt to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Part of being able to deal with the heat is not having to get up and go to work. When it gets hot, if you have the luxury of planning your activities around the peak hours of the afternoon heat, it's much more bearable. It's also nice to have a body of water, even a small dipping pool, to take the sting off.

      Delete
  9. Exponential climate change seems to be upon us. Here in Comitan, Chiapas, it is pretty hot as well (relatively speaking). Apparently a major drought in Guatemala now for multiple years with the locals living on the edge harvest and food wise. 114 and humid sounds beastly. A friend who spent this winter in Bocas del Toro, Panama said it rained all winter. Californians migrating out of the drought zone, Floridians colder than normal, dogs sleeping with cats..... the new normal.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes, temperature is another dimension. So glad we have some flexibility. It's cold, bleak, blustery at present in WNY. My weather link in Merida does not agree with El Diario, forecasting a max of 107ºF for later this week. (The historical record I found was 109º, so 113 would be off the charts.) Perhaps you've noticed that sometimes newspapers go for the sensational. But it's all hot. Yet I miss it. And my neighbors, Marc.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Does anyone know what's happened to Thepickledonion site? I hope that she is ok.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was in touch with her recently and all was well. I think Valerie is just busy.

      https://thepickledonionyucatan.wordpress.com/

      http://www.thepickledonionyucatan.com/

      Delete

I appreciate comments, but will delete comments that are rude, offensive or off topic. Unfortunately, due to the heavy volume of spam, comment moderation has been enabled. I will try to approve comments promptly, but your patience is appreciated.
If you have technical trouble leaving your comment, please email it to:
marc_olson@hotmail.com
and I will post it for you.