So here’s the thing. We live in the tropics. To be specific. Merida, (La Ciudad Blanca), the White City. The Yucatan Peninsula. Mexico. Why is it called the White City you ask? I can’t answer that. But for the fact that most of the buildings here are painted in all the colors of the rainbow and mucho mas. It’s a mystery to me.
Maybe I’ll just ask Raul down the street. Raul knows everything about Merida.
The White City, and why that is. Will most likely become the subject of a future blog.
Our wonderful city is just south of the Tropic of Cancer and is located inland about 25 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. From the north and eastern side of the city, the Yucatan peninsula stretches out to the Caribbean Sea. Merida is 30 feet above sea level so that’s a lot different from the 5,280 feet above sea level we moved here from.
So. One more interesting note. We are located in the Chicxulub crater. What is that you ask? The Chicxulub crater was the crater that was created when a comet or asteroid hit the Earth millions of years ago. It basically killed off all of the dinosaurs. You say. Oh, that crater!
Merida is located just above of where the “T” in Trough is.
So let’s talk heat and the summer. It’s hot here in the summer. Really hot. Arabian hot! Why do I say Arabian hot? I say this because Merida is Latitude: 20°58′31″ N which lies along the same parallels as the Arabian Desert which is in the Arabian Peninsula. Which is a desert in western Asia. A big one. The difference is that in the Arabian Desert, the temps at least cool off at night. Here in Merida. In the summer. Not so much. It’s because the surrounding low jungles hold onto the heat of the day and well into the night. Here’s an interesting fact. Merida’s average temperature is actually higher than Mecca, Saudi Arabia! Did I mention that we don’t have a swimming pool? ….. Yet.
But wait! Now there’s a twist to the summer in Merida. We already know it’s hot but I had thought that maybe once the rainy season started in July, the rains will cool everything off from the 90 and 100 degree temps. Ummmm, no. Did I mention the rains are warm and not cool at all? Combine the warm rains with the high temperatures and you have high humidity. Mind you, it’s not near as bad as Illinois in the summer, but it’s still very uncomfortable. For me, and it’s seems like, only me.
So your probably wondering. What about the cool ocean breezes that come in from the Gulf and the Caribbean. Ya, I’ve been wondering about that too.
Ok, so I think you got the picture. Here in the Yucatan. Summer = heat and humidity.
So when Cody, the dogs, and I, moved here it was at the beginning of fall. We moved here in early October, 2015. We had missed our first summer. The temps are so pleasant, I think.
Fact: low temps in the fall and winter average about 65 to 60 degrees. At the least. On a very rare occasion we might get as low as 55. The high temperatures are in the 80s.
Wow! I’ve been blessed! This is truly heaven sent.
So here is a shocker that I did not see coming. After settling into our new home we decide we need to do some shopping for summer clothes cause, well, it’s the tropics and it’s October. No need to ever wear winter clothes again!!
We go to the department store and low and behold. Summer wear is hard to find.
Ooookay. I’m confused. So what’s up with the racks and racks of jackets, winter knit hats, and sweaters. Is this some kind of cruel joke played on us expats? Is it not as warm here in the winter like we thought.
Nothing to fear, we’re told by other expats. It’s not going to snow and it’s not even going to get cold. But that is only by our perceptions of what cold is. You see, it’s a totally different story for the locals. They have no idea what it is really like to experience cold weather. Since we came here we have always been dumbfounded on how the locals choose to wear long pants, jeans, and long sleeve shirts,(even in the height of summer). Rarely do we see them in shorts. We have even seen babies wrapped in blankets in the heat of the summer. We had heard that the reason why is to get them used to being hot and they will eventually become tolerant of the heat. Ummmm, that sounds cruel to me and I feel the need to call the Human Services department on that one. But I wouldn’t.
I consider the original settlers to this area to be the Maya but there is another group, which I will call. Semi-natives. Now I did not know that Mexico is home to a religious sect we all know. Mennonites. Yes. There are Mennonites who live here. I’ve read where they are more concentrated in the northern states of Mexico but yes there is a substantial population living here in the Yucatan as well. They have been here for generations. I believe they came here in 1930s. Immigrants from Germany. Some from Canada and some from the U.S. Because of religious persecution?
Now the Mennonites we have encountered have only spoken Spanish. I suppose after all of these years in Mexico why would you need to go back to your original language. Which for many of the younger ones, would be Spanish.
Which has nothing to do with this story but interesting all the same.
Now to tolerate the heat you would think less is more but evidently more is more when it comes to dealing with the incredibly hot temperatures. Side note: Cody told me that in the stifling heat of the Illinois summers, he had an uncle who used to sleep with two or three blankets covering him at night. During the day he wore layers of clothing. Evidently he felt that he could keep cooler dressed that way.
Back to the Mennonites. The women wear a full garb of long Amish style dresses and bonnets and the men wear long sleeve flannel shirts and overalls with big farmers hats. Mind you. It’s 100 degrees outside!
I must be missing something. But what is the secret? Maybe there is no secret and it’s just staring me in the face. I just couldn’t imagine. I mean I have tried wearing jeans in the hot weather but it is so uncomfortable they come off within a half an hour. When it comes to us being around the house. Cody is pretty much shirtless and I know of two people who swim in the nude. Cody saw one of them from the roof.
So I have trouble wearing shoes…. and underwear. Too hot. Flip flops and going commando is the way to go for me!
As for the jackets and the sweaters. Upon a closer inspection. They are made very light weight and of very thin materials. Back in the states we wouldn’t even bother. It would be like wearing a windbreaker in a snowstorm. For me. I always believe that when in Rome do as the Romans do, but in this case the Romans have been doing this for a long time and I’m a newbie. I’m still learning the do’s and don’ts of living in the Yucatan. For now. I’ll stick to only wearing swim trunks and tank tops. 24-7.
By the way. Did I mention that I love this winter paradise and I never want to leave. Summer and all.
So I wonder. Is it hot outside or is it just me?
My Mexican beanie hat was hand knit by my mother and is available by request at. https://www.etsy.com/shop/WarmUpsKnitWear/