We have returned to the time of year where I marvel in utter bewilderment by the women who can still wear pants. It is insanely hot here. This week our “coolest” day was 30. All the other days were in the 33-34 range.
That’s too stinking hot for this Canadian kid.
I want to be like this kid, strutting around fountains in my underwear like a total boss. He is my new hero.
This morning it was 25 degrees at 7:00am. That is a perfectly reasonable high to achieve at mid day. When you start with that right out of the gate you know it’s going to be a cooker.
My days here involve a lot of walking. The trouble is I enjoy a brisk walk. Starting with the early morning hostile-hustle to the bus, (“Get your teeth brushed! Where’s your back-pack? Don’t touch your sister! Who left the fridge open? Put down your fidget spinner! We need to get out the door NOW!!!”) followed by the 20 minute walk back from the main station hauling groceries.
I enjoy walking with purpose; making sure it counts as some exercise for the day. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up and your circulation pumping. But my brisk walking is not working in this heat. As you can imagine I am arriving at my destinations a drippy, sticky, frizzy haired mess. Today I changed my clothes three times before noon. (Is this a pre-menopause thing? Why am I coping so much worse than the ever-put-together Swiss women around me?)
What I really need to be doing is channeling my memories from when I traveled in Africa where everyone walked, at what at the time seemed to be an insanely slow pace. I need to embrace the meander, the saunter. Allowing a good 25 minutes for what would otherwise take under 10.
This will take some work on my part since I’ve calculated all of our walking distances based on a very good brisk pace.
It also means that the random sprint for a bus or train is now totally out of the question. If we have just 2 minutes to get the train, so be it. We’ll catch the next one. We can spend the time we have to wait in the nearest grocery store, in the dairy aisle, leaning up against the display. A sprint in this heat is totally out of the question. It would take me a good 30 minutes to recover and stop sweating.
In the end this is probably a good adjustment to make anyhow. I think our visitors will enjoy Sauntering-Anna much more than Hup-two-hup-two-Anna. I’m guilty of being a bit of a visitor-drill Sargent. It’s just that I always have so much that I’m excited to show everyone and I know it can be done if we all adopt a steady run-walk pace. Evidently this is not what many have in mind for their care-free holiday time. Right Grandma?
The good news for the kids is that the weather this week has meant that there is ice cream or a Popsicle in store for them every day. It’s just too dang toasty to get through the day without it.
I’ll give the Swiss credit for one thing; fountains on every block are really the most brilliant piece of infrastructure ever invented. We never pass one by without running the water over that sweet spot at the back of your neck. The subsequent drip down your back and slow seep into your underpants is pure heaven. Trust.
And if I’m honest with myself, this is a climate I appreciate and benefit from so much. It’s the climate that brings me delicious, ripe fruit, my first and purest love.
On our way home from the ice cream park yesterday afternoon we found a perfect reason to meander and take it slow. Diego noticed that the grass was moving. There were dozens of teeny-tiny frogs in the grass. We’re talking about a size smaller than your pinky-finger-nail. We haven’t had rain for a while. This grass was dry with no relief in sight. So we spent a good while capturing and releasing these wee little amphibians closer to their pond so they wouldn’t become accidentally BBQ’d.
In the meantime I’m still trying to determine that delicate balance between wearing too-little clothing and offending the general public. There must be some sort of secret internal cooling system the Swiss women keep as a well guarded secret. Something along the lines of the frozen maxi-pads they keep in a secret freezer in the maternity ward that no one knows about until you need one and then Sweet-baby-Jesus you’re in HEAVEN!! Hmmm, I think there’s something marketable there…
Until then, hats off to people like this. Fashion over function right?