I need to write about the heat because it is seriously driving me loco. It’s unlike any heat that I have known. We are on our third week of temperatures soaring well into the 100’s (or 40’s for my Celcius readers) and I am muy muy sapped of everything that makes me feel like me: energy, reason, cheer, motivation, patience (despite what Lala says, I am a very patient mother!), good will, smiles, and creativity. Every day ends in a headache and it’s tough mustering the energy to get through the routine. Veteran expats here promise me that my body will adjust to the heat and that I will learn how to tweak my life so that I don’t always feel so yucky.
Monday, temps rose to 110 – and the mercury in the days before and after hovered on either side of that mark. A breeze helps if you like hot air blowing over your overheated body… walls and walls of hot, dusty air. Add sun and radiation and reflected heat from concrete and asphalt and you have an oven stuffed with 14 million people here in Delhi.
Poor Eddie is still playing soccer and it’s a wonder that his team hasn’t dropped from heat stroke. Eddie drinks a lot of water before, during and after his games and I try to keep him quiet and cool between the end of school and his 5:15 practice. Still, this is difficult. How do you get a five year old to stop moving?
George HATES the heat and prefers to hole-up in our basement in front of the t.v., the wii, the computer… or play with his legos. Fortunately we have a gi-normous playroom where the kids can play as well as ride their scooters or kick the soccer ball, as Eddie does every single minute of his free time. Take a look: (It’s the size of three new york apartments!)
Wednesdays and Fridays after school we go to the American Club to swim. It’s a bastion of utter American-ness, where we can buy Baskin Robbins, burgers, iced coffees and Coronas. Thank God for the latter… I worship at the alter of a cold beer in this heat. The up-side to the heat for the kids is that mommy actually gets into the pool and hangs out for a bit. When all three were officially water safe a few years ago, I let myself graduate to pool-side lounging and left the marco-polo games and diving competitions to Jim. I don’t spend much time in the water at the beach either – I’ve always been scared of the sea even though I love, even crave to be near it. But I’d rather play in the sand and search for shells than body surf. (I have a signature turtle that I build, and I love to make drip castles.) At the pool, I like to pull-up a chair water-side and throw coins for the kids to recover. I make them hide their eyes. If you have a handful of coins and you throw them all at once you can buy yourself enough time to read a few pages of your book!
We go through gallons of water every day. The school likes everyone to have a water bottle and there are chilled water fountains throughout the campus. This reminds me about the first time my kids saw a water fountain. We were in the Chicago airport transiting from Beijing to somewhere and all three were reduced to giggles trying to lick the water… they had never seen a drinking fountain in China and had no clue how to use one. Now they know to suck and swallow to stay well-hydrated.
We also devour popsicles, although you have to be careful where you get them so you don’t suffer food poisoning. The schools sells them and most kids rush to the snack bar to get one when the final bell rings. We’re also eating “cooler” foods at home. Our nanny makes a quenching cold Korean cucumber soup. It has a tangy, vinegar base with julienned cukes and sesame seeds.
Shopping is a problem – food turns quickly for several reasons: it’s either exposed to the heat because most shops aren’t airconditioned – or it’s not properly transported. Two weeks in a row I bought bad sour cream – really bad, stinky sour cream. So bad in fact that I couldn’t erase the olfactory memory and I kept smelling it on my hands.
Everything goes in our fridge now, including most of the fruit, the bread, eggs (during the cooler months we don’t refrigerate our eggs), and most opened bags of snacks. With the heat comes bugs – LOTS and LOTS of bugs…. and they’ll brazenly walk off with your dinner if don’t eat fast enough. This morning, I made Eddie a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I was acutely aware of making it before these little ants appeared from wherever they spy on me.
The other problem we have with food is that we don’t have much of an appetite later in the day – so dinners have been light lately. I try to make-up the calories with frozen chocolate… in fact, I just devoured a SKOR bar while writing this. It makes Jim happy when he sees me nosh because he’s overly concerned with my weight, a worry that the kids have adopted from him. Now I have four sets of lips flapping at me to eat more and run less!
As for exercise – running outside is impossible unless I go as the sun rises. It’s not natural for me to get up that early, but I will need to soon to properly prepare for the San Francisco half marathon that I’m running in July. When I run in extreme heat, I drink oral rehydration salts.
Every day ends with a quick shower now – to wash away the heat and the sweat and the dirt that has accumulated throughout the day. I haven’t met an antiperspirant here that actually does the job. Clothes all go into the hamper with no chance of a second wear. Yesterday, I left my gym bag in the car and today when I opened it to take out the dirty running gear – oh the smell! the smell… It was that sour cream haunting me.
Told you I was going loco…!
Here’s the neighborhood fruit vendor. Everything is covered in burlap now to protect it from the heat:
Summer street food. I’m not shy about eating locally, but I would NEVER, EVER touch these:
My smallest fishy staying cool:
Here’s another way to manage the heat:
George and his good friend George, cute as ever, playing with George’s DS… a toy I have yet to purchase despite my kids’ pleas. (But I’m close to caving-in… shhh!) This is the TV room, computer room, wii central, sing-star heaven… and the coolest place in the house:
This is how Lala stays cool: (for some reason, the leaves drop in the summer…)
Technology revisited: the time-warp: (a print shop)
These guys are sewing embroidered cloth:
Back to the 21st century and caught on my blackberry: (note the mid-wall electrical sockets…. it’s a total assault to my decorative senses!)
And this dear lady has hands to get naked for… she’s my standing sunday date, 12 noon. What does she do? Guess!