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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dog Days

I don’t mean to be gross but it is so hot these days that I sleep on a couple of beach towels to keep my bedding from getting soaked with sweat. My house is sin aire condicionado, of course, but I have a big fan blowing directly on my sweaty carcass. I woke up this morning at about 04:00 because the air had stopped moving so the fan was just pushing around something wet, stale, and hot. I made it back to bed and when I woke up for keeps at 06:30, the morning breezes had started to pick up. It was actually pretty nice. I love these early mornings in summer and I feel quite lucky that I am forced out of the house Monday through Friday to appreciate them. I have always appreciated the summers here and I’m truly grateful during these months that I don’t live somewhere like Sevilla or Madrid, places that see temperatures around 40˚ every day.

I don’t even care that I don’t have air conditioning and even if I had it I wouldn’t use it. And it’s not like air conditioning would help me when I’m humping all over Valencia on one of my bicycles. Most people here in Valencia don’t use air conditioning much. People are just a lot more frugal with their energy usage, not because they are eco-hippies or anything like that but simply to save money as electricity is rather expensive here. In Valencia even most businesses don’t bother with air conditioning.

I went to the little cinema near my apartment last week to get away from the heat for a bit as well as improve my Spanish. The theater was air conditioned but it’s not like you needed to bring a sweater with you like I remember when I lived in Florida. Every indoor business in Miami feels like they need to create frost on the inside of their windows to attract customers. The only exception to this is the big department store El Corte Inglés. I sometimes ride by the front doors (always wide open) of the store near Las Ciencias and the frigid air mixing with the heat creates its own wind patterns. You could fly a kite.

Valencia’s climate is extremely pleasant for most of the year and requires little in the way of artificial adjustment, either hot or cold. If your apartment is well insulated (and none are) you wouldn’t need heat except for maybe two weeks in January. I really like the weather here when it is hot enough to wear shorts but you can wear a long sleeve shirt. That isn’t the case these days, however. I can’t even get away with wearing cotton shirts. The trick is to not exert yourself and stay out of the sun—kind of hard to do while riding a bike. Even riding a bike isn’t bad during the summer—it’s the stopping part that will kill you. When I stop it’s like my sweat bank comes collecting for the past 30 minutes I have been riding with a 25-30 kph breeze in my face supplied by my legs.

Last night I sat down at a café at around 6 pm to read for an hour or two. The sun was behind a building and it was very pleasant. I am reading Shogun in Spanish just to give me something that I know I can sink my teeth into. I’ve read it in English a few times and I am devouring this time around in Spanish. I’m picking up a lot of new nautical vocabulary (estribor-starboard, babor-port) and reinforcing a lot of words I have seen before. As I have said before, translations into Spanish are pretty easy for me these days, no matter what the subject. A Campari and soda and a good book—what more do you need? What more do I need? That’s a good start but I’ll write down a list of what else I need right now but that will be the subject for another day.


  1. Madrid's climate is just unbelievable: very cold and windy in winter (we had serious snow 4/5 days this last winter), and very hot and dry in the summer: not sure it's got up to 40 yet, but I'm sure it will. We do have a mobile A/C unit, which we've barely used yet, this summer. But bear in mind, we lived in Dubai until three years ago, where temperatures could exceed 50 degrees, although never officially. However, aircon was everywhere, even in the crappiest taxi (you would, actually, die, otherwise).

    Happy daze, ya ya ya.

  2. Every time I think about moving to Madrid I think about how great the weather is here in Valencia (and I think about moving to Madrid every time I visit).

  3. I get a bit nervous if I'm over 300 km away from the ocean/sea.

  4. I could make an exception for Paris.


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