Nobody I know here has airconditioning at home, and not all offices and shops are equipped that way, either. The trip to and from O.K. last weekend saw me on three different trains each way, two of them being without a/c altogether.
Up until recently, very hot summers were rare here, and temperatures above 30 C never lasted long; after a few days, a thunderstorm would break the heat. It was normal to complain about our summer weather being wet and chilly, which is why so many of us took to going abroad for their holidays, to countries like Italy, Spain and Turkey, where sunshine was almost guaranteed.
Therefore, it never seemed to be necessary to have a/c in private homes or most offices; one could cope with the heat for a few days, and installing a/c was considered an unnecessary expense.
Things (i.e. the climate) are changing, however, and new buildings are already planned in a different way, to be more energy-efficient (both to keep the warmth inside in winter and the heat out in summer).
Anyway, what did we do last weekend to keep (relatively) cool?
O.K.'s village has several fountains lining the main street, and his house is close to one of them. It is a large stone through, hewn from a single block of sandstone. Larger than a bath tub, but not big or deep enough to swim in. Fresh water is constantly coming in from a pipe. I managed to find a picture of "our" fountain on the internet (O.K.'s house is not in the picture):
After we had our first coffee on Saturday morning, we walked over to the fountain and sat on the rim with our feet and legs in the water. At first, it feels so cold you want to shriek (I didn't, I merely gasped!), but then it becomes wonderfully refreshing. After a while, I bent forward and also put my arms in almost up to the shoulders - they were dry again very quickly.
We repeated that three times a day and spent the rest of the time mostly on the balcony in the shade of the big umbrella there, with O.K. serving chilled drinks. No running or walking this time! Another nice thing about sitting at the fountain was also that we could watch village life go by and had the occasional neighbour stop for a little chat, and some joined us in the water.
On Sunday, he prepared blueberry pancakes for breakfast - they were an experiment, but it definitely worked very well for me!
When I returned home on Sunday night, the air in my flat felt very "closed in". The sun did not have a chance to get in, as I had shut everything before going away on Friday evening, but it was still warm at about 26 or 27 C in my bedroom (around 80 F).
|View from my kitchen window at 20:46 on Monday|
Yesterday, my colleague and I left our stickily warm office together, and for the first time, it definitely was cooler outside than in. During the night, it has cooled off nicely; thunderstorms and rain are forecast for the next few days until we'll be back in the 30s next week (mid-80s to 100 F).