Living in a Tropical Climate
I’ve always wanted to live somewhere sunny (“but not necessarily hot!” I would quip) because I reckoned life must look very different with eternal sunshine and perhaps I hankered after a slower pace of life. I think I must have been imagining a Caribbean island! In any case, here we are in the tropics and the weather does have quite an effect on you.
This morning at 7am it was 30C. That means that we are gearing up for hot season when temperatures will reach an average of 40C in the day. Of course you avoid going anywhere and doing anything in the middle of the day but what you don’t realise is that, in hot season, the temperature hardly drops at night. So we are averaging probably about 27C in the evenings and maybe as low as 22C in the early hours of the morning. The telltale sign is the pool which is easily warm bath temperature by the afternoon but still relatively cool and refreshing first thing. In May it will just be hot all the time. Crikey, I must be getting old, I’m noting actual temperatures!
What I hadn’t appreciated, even though we are now in our second hot season, is how impossible it is to be outdoors and how much I really, really want to be outdoors! We go from aircon house to aircon car to aircon shop/office and then only if we have to. Finding things to do for Alfie is hard. Thankfully he’s pretty worn out by nursery but the afternoons are either swimming or playdates – indoors. And having a pool on the threshold means it’s no longer that exciting to go swimming these days. There is the odd shopping centre which has an indoor play area but they are not always the easiest places to get to or to sit in, while your little angel runs around.
I also realised, while on holiday, that I can only take Oscar somewhere if I know I can get him cool again, if that makes sense. So we didn’t do an elephant safari in Thailand for example, because whilst Alfie and Daddy went off, there was nowhere cool for me and Oscar to sit and wait. And I was thinking of starting riding again, bringing Amber with me to hold Oscar while I have a lesson, but there is no air conditioning at the riding school so he would get too hot and I would only be able to cool him down in the car. We’ll have to wait with that one!
They say the heat saps 30% of your energy and it’s easy to forget that. I rarely walk anywhere except to an exercise class I have found nearby but I notice that I still walk twice as fast as anyone else. I do take an umbrella with me though; the locals are horrified if they see you walking in the sun without one. And I sweat. Boy, do I sweat. I think pretty much everyone is used to seeing me with my hair plastered to my head and a glistening face. Not a great party look, but there you go. (When breastfeeding it gets even worse as my boobs turn into Exocet Missiles and poor old Oscy practically has to swim for his breakfast sometimes.) I change my underwear at least twice a day and the only consolation is that in this heat, the washing dries instantly so filling up the washbasket doesn’t feel too extravagant. But more than anything I miss my walks. When Alfie was a baby I would put him in the pram and walk every day, even if it was just round the corner to the papershop. But often much longer, to parks and friends’ houses, to his swimming class which was a good 45 minutes away. Lots of times it was boring but at least it was freedom of a sort! Gazing up at blue skies and palm trees ain’t bad, but I can’t help feeling a bit cooped up and I’m longing for a bit of outdoor life.