I’VE finally discovered, albeit reluctantly, what it feels like to be cooked like an oven chip.
The last week or so in Tijuana has seen temperatures rocket to somewhere near the obscene.
You know, the sort of temperatures where you could easily fry an egg on the pavement.
For a fairly pale-skinned Englishman it’s been a jolt to the system.
We have no air conditioning in the house so we rely on ceiling fans. Which, going back to my earlier comment, really does make you feel like you’re living in a fan oven without an ‘off’ switch.
By day temperatures have peaked at around 44 degrees. By night, a mere 25 degrees.
|Feeling hot, hot, hot... and this was nearly three weeks ago|
And the best is apparently yet to come.
Every year this region (Baja California) experiences something called the ‘Santana winds’.
Despite the name it has nothing to do with the legendary guitarists’ problems with flatulence.
It has everything to do with the blustery dry winds which sweep off the Arizona desert and across the region. They apparently make breathing difficult. And just to add insult to injury, you also have to close all the doors and windows because the wind brings with it dust and sand.
The mere mention of the winds brings a look of horror and discomfort to a Mexican’s face.
And seeing as we haven’t yet experienced this natural occurrence, I’m inclined to pull the same face just thinking about it.
For me it’s been strange adjusting to the ‘autumn’ in Mexico.
In England it’s one of my favourite seasons. That feeling when you wake up one day, and you just know, that autumn has arrived. You can sense it in the air and feel it in the breeze.
Well we might as well be living on the face of the sun because, despite the fact it’s now autumn here, it feels like the height of summer to me.
The heat in Afghanistan, where I spent three months mid-summer in 2010, was intense. But we had air con.
Here we literally just cook in our own skin. Even people who visit the beach mostly sit in the shade.
|Oh we do like to be beside the seaside (albeit in the shade...)|
|Impromptu Mexican jam session en la playa|
You walk outside on particularly hot days and TJ is like a ghost town. People stay inside until it cools off.
I’m minded to sit outside like a sun-worshipping rock star. But hey, I stand out enough as it is let alone with deep agonizing sun burn.
But hey, when we have ventured out and about, my new home-town is still as fascinating, fun and downright weird as it has been since I arrived.
As I keep saying, things are very different here.
Picture the scene, we’re sat in Burger King one night surrounded by kids with ‘happy meals’, or whatever the king calls them.
All their noise is drowned out by the volume of the large television screen which sits central and imposing in the restaurant.
We tuck into our food, I glance up and ask… “Um, what are these people on the chat show talking about?”
“Oh, the woman is teaching the guy how to control his ejaculation…” Jacky nonchalantly replies.
I’m loving it.
Only in TJ.
My mum asked a few weeks ago why I haven’t sent her a postcard.
It’s simply really. They don’t sell them here, at least... I don’t think they do.
I can’t imagine that pictures of armed men with blacked out faces standing next to a taco stand would really sell here.
I don’t know, maybe there’s a market there that I’ve just cornered?!
Besides for some reason unbeknown to me the postal service is, well, pants.
A letter takes between five and nine weeks (on average) to arrive here.
I think a postcard from an astronaut on the surface of the moon would arrive quicker.
I wish I knew why. A second class stamp here might as well boast a sticker saying ‘ignore until the moment the sender thinks it’s lost – and then send’.
And the postmen in TJ don’t wear uniforms. It’s like giving your post to a random guy in the street on a motorbike hoping that he is who you think he is.
This place is indeed fascinating and I guess, that’s what makes each day so captivating.
Thanks for reading.
Oh, and ‘привет’ to my Russian readers!