My siblings and I always joked on the hottest summer days that it felt “hotter than Africa” outside. Africa was the hottest place we could think of and what place on earth could possibly hotter than Africa? Well, after 3 years of living in Puerto Escondido, I have determined that the month of May in Mexico is indeed, hotter than Africa.
Everyone knows that Mexico is a hot place. It is a tourist destination to millions every year and is known for its beautiful beaches, consistently sunny weather and giant cruise port cities. I grew up in hot and humid North Carolina. The heat was no stranger to me before moving here. However, I had never in my life experienced Mexican heat outside of the vacation bubble, where the breeze off the ocean is strong, the pool is close by and your room is air conditioned.
The dictionary defines heat in a couple of different ways: (1) the state of a body perceived as having or generating a relatively high degree of warmth; (2) the condition or quality of being hot; and (3) the degree of hotness, temperature. I am not sure which definition I agree with or if any of them define the type of heat I am currently drowning in as I write this.
Most of the year is bearable when it comes to the hot and humid weather. The nights cool off which lead to cooler mornings and sometimes there is a nice breeze to help you forget about how hot you are. The month of May brings a heat that is so fierce that it consumes you. All 365 days of the year here carry almost the exact same weather. I love a good change of seasons. There is no better feeling than those first cool fall days in October or flowers blooming in April with the promise of warmer weather. Puerto only permits one type of weather: 90 degrees and sunny. Everyday. All year. In December. Sometimes, in the middle of the night.
The month of May is dreaded by many as it approaches and hated by all once it is here. The air is heavier than ever has we wait for that first rain to fall to kick off a few months of rainy afternoons that give a much-needed break from the heat. The sun hits your skin and makes you feel like you’re living in an oven. Your sweat beads down your forehead, soaks any clothing that is remotely touching your skin and cascades down your legs like a waterfall.
There is not air conditioning to retreat to, the waves are typically huge this time of year, which limits your access to the water, and life goes on as usual. We have eaten out more than ever to avoid cooking over the stove and I have taken more showers than I thought humanly possible. I have been caught with my head stuck in the freezer more times than I would like to admit. My poor students sweat through their uniforms while solving multiplication problems at 9:00am and if you don’t have more than one fan pointed directly at you then you need to buy another fan. Also, who knew adults could get heat rash! I thought that heat rash was only for little kids until I moved here and it started showing up all over my body around this time of year.
I am fairly positive there is no cure for the physical pain and discomfort the month of May brings upon us here in Puerto. So, until the rain comes you will find me in front of a fan, with my head in the freezer, showering at 3am and praying those clouds will make an appearance over the mountain tops to drop the rain we have patiently been waiting for since it left us last October.
Sarah Hindin is from Charlotte, NC, where her wonderful family still resides. This is Sarah’s 3rd year serving with GEM in Puerto Escondido. She is an organizational wizard and her students love her more than anything! If you’d like to sponsor Sarah financially or via prayer, you can find her contact info here.