Country Living

Can You Handle The Heat?

DSC02051-copyIt’s 30°C/86°F; a ceiling fan is buzzing overhead; and the supermarket cashier is singing about how Jesus restoreth her soul in the valley.

The song is repetitive, interminable and slow . . . very slow.

I can feel the energy draining from the top of my afro and out through my two-day-old pedicure. I need her to hurry and cash di tings because pretty soon I will be needing Jesus to restoreth my soul . . . or resuscitate it.

In a taxi, on the way home, I’m staring at a line of cars cruising along the hot asphalt road before us. The cabby is crooning about Jah being his keeper, and he’s doing it in true, sombre, Peter Tosh fashion. My eyes are burning. My eyelids are begging for two matchsticks to cotch dem up. Di heap a lazy singing and midday heat are unbearable.

Yes, it has been a season of high temperatures, dryness, bush fires, and, for our friends in Kingston and St. Andrew, water lock-offs. But the Met Office promises rain, and the island waits with baited breath for the rainy season to begin.

The good thing about living on the northern coast is the higher levels of relief rainfall. And if it wasn’t for likkle sea breeze, how would we manage on an island where average temperatures can rise to the low thirties(°C )?

There are two seasons in Jamaica as far as I’m concerned: summer and almost summer. Yes, there’s rainy season in May, October and November, but the rain can either “bring up” the heat or cool down the place. Either way, we’ll take it, please!

DSC00643-Tree copy
Morning sun behind the clouds. Don’t stare at it too long or it may put you in a daze (try it!)

I see cable-TV programs about residents in cold climes hunting for homes with year-long sunshine. Wives are in cute summer dresses; husbands are in floral, button-down shirts; and real estate agents are in Bermuda shorts and flip flops. Well, I say, come on down! Fulfill those aspirations of setting up house in di tropics. Bring your surf boards, bikinis and sandals. If I had to face sub-zero winters, I’d be packing a grip and booking a one-way ticket to this side of the world too.

But let me warn you. It can get real hot in the tropics. How hot, you ask. Pull up a chair, my friend. Let me tell you about Jamaican heat.

In Jamaica, it can get so hot:

1. Showering two or three times a day and having sweat drain down your neck the second you step out the bath and dry off is no strange occurrence.

2. A plastic chair on a verandah becomes man’s new, best friend. Sure, one can live an air-conditioned existence, 24-7, if forking out a monthly wad of cash to the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is no problem.

3. The most coveted spots in church are seats underneath the ceiling fans or right next to the outside folding doors.

4. You don’t want a thing  to touch your skin–no hair, no clothes, no upholstered furniture, no other skin.

5. Warm (or hot) water flows from the taps in the middle of the day without aid of a water heater.

6. Baking in the sun, i.e. sunbathing, is tantamount to giving yourself a headache.

7. Itchy, sticky and scratchy are heavily rotated words of the day.

8. A temperature drop to 23°C is cool.

9. Pedestrians become “wall huggers” and walk close to anything that will give them shade and keep them out of direct sunlight.

10. Face rags and towels do double shifts.

11. You’ll likely have the following exchange on a regular basis:

      You: It hot ee, man?!!

      Your friend: Wha!!

I'll save a bench for you in Turtle River Park, Ocho Rios. It's a nice, breezy place to sit when it's hot. And it's free!
I’ll save a bench for you in Turtle River Park, Ocho Rios. It’s a nice, breezy place to sit when the weather is hot. And it’s free!

Catch yuh next time!

Peace and love

1. Jamaica Public Service (JPS) is the island’s main electricity supplier.


1 thought on “Can You Handle The Heat?”

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