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!



Filed under Vida Latina

4 responses to “Gimme Shelter

  1. Joanne

    Oh boy, we’ve had a hint of what is to come already haven’t we? After such a lovely winter I am not sure I am ready for a hot hot hot spring and summer. Oh well, year by year it becomes easier and I usually don’t find it as hot as I used to.

    Thanks for the reminder of all the tips and tricks. Pool, limonada and ice cream usually do the trick for me!

    • I know… each winter when the northerners start whining about their “extreme” weather, they don’t realize that we too know the meaning of “extreme”

  2. Really good tips, Joanna. Let me add, for those building anew, or renovating–extra thick walls, and high ceilings help a lot as well.

    And think of the plusses– in my case, my hyper dog slows down earlier; and my African Grey parrot seems just fine! (I even bought a space heater for her, in case she starts shivering in the current cold spells.)

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