Tag Archives: heat

Gimme Shelter

Haven’t the past few months been pleasant? The November – March respite from Yucatan’s intense heat and high humidity is welcome, but we know what’s coming, don’t we… Those who live year-round on this parched peninsula are well aware that the really intense season is “just a kiss away…”

Staying comfortable in this climate is a challenge. The wardrobe, daily schedule and home features that work in a temperate climate are not always viable here.  The good news is that you can work with the heat.

Be sure that your wardrobe includes:

  • Loose-fitting, sleeveless or wide-sleeved tops – preferably cotton
  • Sandals
  • Calf-length pants, long shorts or skirts
  • Hat or cap and Sunglasses

Keeping your hair off of your forehead and the back of your neck helps a lot                                                                       

Always have a water bottle with you. Constant sipping will keep you hydrated. You need to consume at least 2 liters of water every day

Don’t overdo the food or alcohol consumption during the heat of the day

Exercise outdoors before 8:00 am or after 6:00 pm

Run your errands before 11:00 am or after 5:00 pm

If at all possible, stay inside between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm

Lie down for a siesta… you’ll be amazed how this restores your energy

If you can swing it:

-         Have AC, at least in your bedroom

-         Have a pool of some kind. Even if you can’t afford a built-in, get a plastic sided one that you can put outside in a shady spot. Fully submerging your body is the best way to bring your core temperature down. (I have known people who throw a bag of ice into their little plastic pools)

Showering is not as effective, but several times a day can be necessary

Watering your garden is another great way to keep cool – again, don’t do this during the peak heat hours because your plants will fry

Make your home as heat-resistant as possible by assuring that you get cross ventilation from opposite-facing doors or windows

Plant shade trees and have plants that can withstand the sun

If you have west-facing windows, be sure you have heavy curtains or blinds to pull across them in the afternoons               

Outdoor awnings or overhangs help a lot to keep rooms more comfortable

Ceiling fans are great – keep them on low all through the day

String a hammock or two – they are the most comfortable place to lie down

Have some chairs with wicker or cane backs and seats. Upholstered furniture is too sticky in the heat of the day

Keep a sense of humor… we like to paraphrase favorite songs like the Stones’ Gimme Shelter:

“Cool, children, it’s just a dip away
It’s just a dip away
The pool children, it’s just a dip away
It’s just a dip away”

And remember… once the sultry spring, sizzling summer and humid autumn months are over… the balmy, beautiful weather will be back!

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Day Two

Day Two is almost a done deal. And how am I? Well… I won’t say this is a day at the beach… But I must say this cleanse is not nearly as difficult as I had feared. I already feel better and that’s enough for now.

The writing is great. I have rough drafts for 1 ½ of the 12 chapters I hope to finish reviewing during my retreat. A friend sent an email saying that “Virginia Wolfe would be proud”

In the exercise category, I’m also getting full marks today. I walked for an hour and swam laps for 30 minutes. I did some laundry too and hanging out the wash has to count for some major credit.

I almost forgot about not using the phone and started dialing a friend but I remembered in time… Be sure, all of you are in my thoughts.

Keeping in mind that this is a writing blog, I will share another story with you… this time in five parts. By chance a hurricane is also part of this one but it’s oh so different from the last.

An Odyssey

Part One

I tossed most of the night. My body felt taught and I couldn’t bear how my spine and the backs of my thighs stuck to the damp, rumpled cotton sheets. I pulled my hair up off the back of my neck and splayed it over the pillow but no matter how I positioned myself, I could find no relief from the oppressive heat. Finally, in surrender, I threw my legs over the edge and slumped down onto the cool floor.

He let out his own defeated sigh, lifted himself up and piled into the hammock. One bare foot protruded from the blue striped cocoon and rhythmically pushed against our bedroom wall, producing an irritating thump-pause… thump-pause… thump…  I gritted my teeth as I lay spread-eagle on the somewhat cooler but terribly unyielding pasta tiles.

It had been four days since Hurricane Isadora slammed hard into Mérida. The power was out and it would be at least another 72 hours before it returned. No AC to cool us down, not even a fan to move the heavy, humid air. We had no running water, telephone, or ice. The room fell silent – no more thumping.

Lying in front of the wide-open window, I tried to catch the breeze that blew teasingly outside in the night. I begged, “Take me somewhere cool.” By that I meant maybe the Holiday Inn for the rest of the night and tomorrow… I knew they had a private generator.

He said “Let’s go to Chiapas! When can you be ready?”

Thank you Jesus, Mary and all the saints! While stumbling around the moonlit room, foraging for a few pieces of clothing and sundries to stuff into my pack, I answered, “Twenty minutes – tops!” I wouldn’t give him half a chance to change his mind.

I felt guilty leaving everyone behind.  I could be helping in the citizens’ clean-up campaign, but no – I didn’t feel quite guilty enough. The ADO motor coach with servicio directo to Palenque would depart at 7 am.

It was to be a modest trip.  We like small hotels and eateries just as well as large chains. We actually prefer bus trips to driving. Some years ago, in South America, I became seasoned to travel on the spring-less seats of salvaged school buses. Since then, riding long distances has never been an issue.

It had been too many years since we last passed along Campeche’s lazy stretches of jade and emerald colored coastline. As we snaked through the fishing village of Champotón , we snickered over the name of the shrimp bar we saw on the left-hand side of the road – El Viagra. That quirky naivety, unique to people from the pueblos is something we’d missed.

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La Prima-donna

My cousin Donna has been nick-named “La Prima-donna” (Get it?) She is far from being a high maintenance guest but it’s a great pun!

I continue to be “on holiday in my own town”… we’re having a great time! Today began with a breakfast to celebrate our friend Nancy’s birthday. If you’ve never been to the Sunday brunch at El Castellano, you need to give yourself a treat one of these fine days…

With very full tummies, we set off to the symphony. For this week’s program, the orchestra director Juan Carlos Lomónaco selected works of composers Mikhail Glinka, Reinhold Gliére and Pitor Ilich Tchaikovsky. Harpist Ruth Bennet was the featured soloist with her interpretation of Gliére’s 74th Opus . Amazing!

This season, the symphony is not playing at the Peon Contreras Opera House because the building is undergoing     extensive renovations. I had my doubts about the quality of sound we’d experience at the surrogate venue, the Teatro Armando Manzanero. My reservations were completely unfounded, the acoustics were wonderful and because we sat so close to the stage, we had the opportunity to really observe the musicians.

First violin Christopher Collins held us spellbound. He rarely seems to consult his musical score and he practically jumps out of his seat during his favorite segues. Striking, patrician Elizabeth Arnott, also a violinist seems to emanate serenity as she plays. The bassists always impress – what a lot of work to play those huge instruments. Violas, violoncellos, flutes, oboes, horns, trumpets trombones and tubas… the percussionists – every player riveted his/her eyes on Maestro Lomónaco and the beautiful music flowed over the stage and into our souls.

Leaving the theatre, we said goodbye to all the friends attending the performance and then headed home to the pool to refresh, rehydrate and replay the lovely day…

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