Friday, July 25, 2008

fish in hot water

Hot. But more humid than hot. If I had to summarize the July weather in Melaque that would be it. It was what I expected. And it was what I got.

But it was not a surprise. Every book I have read concerning the summer weather on the Mexico Pacific coast warns of both the heat and humidity -- both so high that even the locals avoid being outside in the afternoon.

But let me confess. Almost every expatriate I have met in person or on a message board, lists the weather as one of their top three reasons for moving to Mexico. I am not one of those people. The weather is not a factor in my move.

At most the weather could be a reason not to move to Mexico. My idea of a perfect day is 55 degrees with an overcast sky and a slight drizzle. That is only a slight exaggeration. For summers, it is hard to beat Oregon where the temperatures are usually in the 70s with relatively low humidity.

I am not going to find that type of weather in coastal Mexico. One of the main reasons I chose this test run last week was to determine if I could acclimate to the summer weather in Melaque. I never expected to like the weather.

And the weather did give me a good test. During the day, the temperatures stayed around 88 degrees. When the breeze blew off the ocean, it was not unpleasant -- to sit and enjoy the breeze. However, the temperature in my bedroom did not drop below 82 the full week. Without the luxury of fans overhead, I doubt I would have slept. I went through half of my shirts on my first day in town -- soaking them through.

I never did get an opportunity to get into the local cycle of the day. Most locals arose early in the day to get their chores completed before the sun got too hot. And that was just about the time I was getting off of the bed. Almost everything I experienced was during the heat of the day.

The other weather issue was the thunderstorms. We had several while I was there. And each one was a wonder to behold. I have never seen lightning strike the ocean. I can now say that I have -- and I was impressed. On my second night in Melaque, we had rain so heavy that I was positive that the town would flood. Looking at the bedroom slider, I felt as if I was living under a cataract. The streets had plenty of very large pools of standing water, but business went on as usual the next day. Locals informed me that the storm was relatively mild.

So, how did Melaque do on the weather test? The threshold was low, but I do believe that I can learn to acclimate to the summer weather. I will just need to follow the same basic rules as the locals. The bottom line: weather will not stop me from starting my move to Mexico in Melaque.

But what about that beach? Is it the paradise that it appears to be? A great topic for the next post.


John W said...

One blessing of living in San Miguel de Allende is the weather. Boosters call it year-round spring-like temperatures. They exaggerate, but they're not to far wrong. Another blessing is that we're a day's drive from Manzanillo, so when we Left Coast expatriates get a jones for some water, we can get there easily and cheaply.

islagringo said...

You're right. Weather is not really a factor. You are going to get hot anywhere you go in Mexico, in some degree or the other. Sounds like you forgot all about the baby powder trick to keep from sweating through your shirts. I'll be interested to hear about the beaches. They scared the crap out of me and I never even set foot in the water while there. (used the pool a lot though!)

JJ said...

You know, you do acclimate to the heat and humidity of summer. I remember dreading having to take my laundry across the street to the lavandaria, as just that action would cause great sweating and unattractive-white-girl-ness. But then when I got back I had a good excuse to nap. :)

Now, you know how the weather has been here in western Oregon - I freeze when it is below 90.

1st Mate said...

Steve - You do have the option of getaways to cooler climates during the most brutal part of the summer. Michael in SMG was wearing a jacket one evening recently!

It takes a while to get over the feeling you're melting. Sweatbands or bandanas around your forehead, lightweight hats, maybe a bandana around your neck, baby powder, plenty of cold agua, are all methods of defense.

Steve Cotton said...

John -- That is one reason I am keeping my options open. I want to start by renting on the coast. Then I want to spend 6 months in Morelia or Patzcuaro. I want t get a feel of various locales before I finally settle down -- if ever.

Wayne -- I used the talcum powder option -- something I learned while living in Greece. I made the mistake, though, of going out in the heat of the afternoon and walking in the direct sunlight on the beach. Of course, I was going to get hot. What was I thinking?

jj - I hope I acclimate a bit. However, I will never put climate ionb my klist of reasons to move. This summer has been almost perfect in Oregon, as you know.

Bliss -- I am going to be fine with the weather in Melaque. I just need to remember to use the tips I know and those you have offered.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Here is the deal, if you live here you don't live like a tourist. You walk on the shady side of the street,no matter how crowded it is, you drink lots and lots of room temperature water,ice water is not good for you, cool water is okay. You drink licuados, hopefully you don't drink coca cola like a native,and you drink lemonade. You shower all the time, not because you are dirty but because you are sweaty. You know what direction the breeze comes from and where the shade is.
I can't do the tourist thing and be comfortable any more than the tourists can. Oh, and you don't have ac,you know all the places that do,especially free places.

ps Check out Xalapa,
is the blog address of a former Oregonian,he went there because Merida was too hot. There is fog and everything!

wiley said...


I think renting is a good idea, you should also consider Todos Santos if you want to be near the water, its on the Pacific side from La Paz, Its more of an artist colony but nice weather if you don't mind some fog. The prices are more than melaque,San Patricio.

Anonymous said...

You missed some really hot Oregon days while you were gone. We have had a long stretch of hot days the past couple of weeks. But you are right that the humidity in our area is relatively low.

Deb Hall ~ Zocalo Folk Art said...

I could be wrong, but you sound like a PATZ kinda guy to me (chilly rains and all). And with the new cuota, PATZ is almost beach front these days. For many, it's the best of both worlds. Time will tell but I am enjoying your investigatory travels immensely.

Steve Cotton said...

Deb -- You could very well be correct. For day to day living, the highlands may suit me better than living on the coast. But I REALLY love the beach.

Jackie -- Even our hottest days in Oregon do not match summer in the tropics. I am always amazed the effect humidity can have on a body.

Wiley -- I agree on renting. But I really have no interest in Baja. I am not at all fond of the desert -- and most of Gaja seems to be an extension of soutghern California.

Theresa -- Thanks for the reminders. My biggest mistake was sleeping in too long each morning. I allowed my "on vacation" mode to get in the way of my "I need to learn" mode.

Michael Dickson said...

You are correct in that many Gringos cite the weather as a reason to live in Mexico. I find this silly. Whatever kind of weather you like, short of rain forests, it´s available in the U.S. And if you insist on a rain forest, you can move to Puerto Rico with no immigration hassles.

Futhermore, "nice" weather is subjective. Some people like it hot. Some cold. Some humid. Some not. There is no such thing as a universal "nice" weather acceptable to all.

To islagringo: Sweating is quite rare in my 7,200-feet-high neck of the Mexican woods.

Teresa in Merida reaffirms my mystification about why anybody would live in that environment. Sounds absolutely miserable.

I have lived on beaches in Florida and Puerto Rico. Beaches, specifically tropical beaches, are great places to visit. Not for living. Others, of course, disagree.

Anonymous said...


A great trick for keeping cool is this: wrap a couple of ice cubes in a bandanna and then tie it around your neck with the ice cubes at the back. It's amazing how cool that will make you feel on even the hottest days.

Sharper Image or some similar store sells a batter-powered device which does something similar sans ice.

Best of Luck,

Kim G
Boston, MA

Steve Cotton said...

Kim -- Thanks for the tip. It sounds as if it might work -- even if looks as if I have contracted a goiter.