It’s hot and dusty in Los Ayala. Just how dusty you ask? Well, I dust our home every single morning and by mid-afternoon it looks like I have not dusted for at least a week. What’s the point?

During the few weeks before the torrential downpours of the rainy season arrive, my husband, Robert, has to vacuum our swimming pool daily, sometimes twice a day. You see, gusts of wind, passing vehicles and large flying insects create humongous dust clouds that land in our swimming pool. This fine dust does not settle to the bottom of the pool like respectful detritus, rather its tiny particles are so teensy-weensy that they remain suspended in the water, causing the dreaded “cloudy water effect.”

My husband tells me that this condition can only be remedied with a scientific approach which involves the addition of a clarifying liquid, recirculating the pool water for several hours and waiting patiently for the particles to join forces to form grander, denser particles that have been forced together into units large enough to sink to the bottom; at which time he can vacuum them out of the pool. If he slacks off from his pool vacuuming duties, the water in our pool quickly turns a murky green color which acts as a pheromone for a myriad of insects. And because it is so humid at this time of year and unless you live seconds away from the beach, several daily dunks in the pool are essential to surviving the summer heat. So there is no slacking off allowed when it comes to keeping up with vacuuming our swimming pool.

It is only the beginning of summer and I am already using the air conditioning from 9pm-2am every evening even though I know it will cost us dearly, literally. Each and every day, I’m dripping sweat by 6am. I repeat the experience throughout the day until the final straw, which occurs precisely at 8pm when I can usually be found winding down by watching the news or reading a book. I have the ceiling fans running at high speed and a portable fan, also running at maximum velocity, directed at my face. I also have an ice pack wrapped around my neck or draped across my sweaty forehead. All to no avail! (Sometimes I don’t even last until 8pm!) Robert oftentimes calls me to dinner (yes, my husband is a true sweetheart) and I come to the dinner table even though I am not the least bit hungry. In fact it’s way too hot to eat anything but mangoes and ice cream. I seat myself at the table, start dripping and I ask, “Do you mind if I hop into the pool for just a minute before we eat?”

Just FYI, the times I find myself drenched in sweat coincide with the humidity level reaching the high 90s. I jumped into the pool at 7am this morning seeking some relief from the heat and I expect that I will be jumping into the pool again at 8pm tonight. I repeat the process on a daily basis throughout the hot summer months.

Yes, I realize that I am indeed very fortunate to have a swimming pool, and you might ask why I don’t just loll about in the pool all day. Well, I have to work… yes, even while living in paradise. And as much as I love the idea, I would not get anything done and my house would resemble one large dust bunny.

By the way it is also way too hot to cook, however if you can believe it, my husband still wants to eat! I think I will start sending him to “Ellaine’s Kitchen.” Ellaine is my neighbor from Alabama who lives around the corner. She loves to cook and continues to do so even in this weather! (Ellaine if you are reading this I’m willing to pay for the service. And if for some reason you can’t fit him in at the dinner table on a nightly basis throughout the summer, let me know!) If she declines his company, I’ll offer to send him to one of the beachfront restaurants on Los Ayala beach which thankfully are open all year round most every day. Otherwise, I will be serving my mate his usual blender breakfast for his morning meal and a fruit smoothie or fresh sliced mangoes topped with vanilla ice cream for dinner. A gal has to do everything she can to survive!

Now before you start feeling sorry for Robert, you should know that I do cook a decent meal for him at least once a week during the hot rainy season. How is this possible? I arise at 5-6am to beat the heat and start slicing and dicing! I typically make spaghetti sauce or several pots of soup, stew or what not and leave it to simmer while I cool off in the pool at 7am. By 9am the stove is shut off for the day.

It has not rained in Los Ayala yet except for a few measly drops, but the surrounding mountainsides are becoming greener every day and flowers of every color are in full bloom. The hillsides are spotted with red, yellow, lime green and purple, yet for some reason I need to water my plants every single day… go figure!

Of course just because I stated that it has not rained very much, it decided to pour buckets last night. I was awakened by this season’s first spectacular thunder and lightning storm. The sound of the air conditioning going out intermittently was perfectly timed with several power surges and deafening booms. Thankfully, the power outages lasted all of a few seconds. I abhor power outages, and although they do not happen too frequently, they inevitably occur in the summer when it is unbearably hot. And it is hotter earlier than usual this year. It is only June as I write this piece and the day time temperatures are 30-35 C (86-95 F) which feels like 40-42 C (104-108 F) according to the humidity index. The evening temperatures are averaging a low of 24 C (75 F) which feels like 30 C (86 F), and you wonder why I think air conditioning is essential?

An acquaintance of mine who lives in Guayabitos year round and who does not have air conditioning, told me he beats the heat by having a cold shower two or three times a night. Shortly after telling me this, he complained that the water is not cold enough to cool off. Yes indeed, air conditioning is crucial at this time of year!

by Christina Stobbs Updated June 18, 2013

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