Yesterday we had our first taste of stormy weather in San Blas. Since we came here via Phoenix, where it apparently never rains, we haven't seen a storm since our last night in London when we were nearly drowned out on our way home from the cinema. Though the rain can get annoying in the UK, I do like the romance of it - steamy, damp windows, the sound of water tapping against the side of the house, umbrellas ... If you had asked me two months ago whether I would miss London rain I would have said no, but it turns out I would have been wrong.
It's not as hot in Mexico temperature-wise as in Phoenix - instead of 40 degrees, it's only 32 degrees - but the humidity is a killer. Last night as we were eating dinner at a sidewalk cafe, I realised that I was wet with sweat - you could actually see a layer of damp across my arms, chest and brow. We are slowly acclimatising, but after the intense dryness of the desert, the humidity is a lot to get used to.
The storm yesterday helped to cut some of the humidity and there has been a slightly cooler breeze in the air. So on the scale of one being freezing to death and ten being burning to death, we are now sitting somewhere around an seven instead of an eight. Small mercies.
I miss air conditioning dreadfully at times, mostly at bed time when I want to snuggle under the blankets but find that anything on top of my skin makes it too hot to sleep. We found that the small ATM on the Plaza is enclosed in a tiny air conditioned room and I've been avoiding the urge to go and hang out there; maybe get my tacos to go and eat in there ... I am fairly proud of us though. The first few days we were here we were completely lost and fighting the urge to take the bus right back to Puerto Vallarta and the convenience of air conditioning and chain stores. Between the heat, my bug bites and the gigantic spiders in our apartment I honestly wasn't sure if we could manage here. But now, nearly a week later, we are finding our way and although it's not the most comfortable place, I am finding little things that I love about San Blas:
- The beach and the ocean are the most perfect place I've ever found for swimming. Apparently the sand flies are bad and can bite, but not if there's a little wind and not during the high heat of the day. The sand is smooth and goes on forever and the water in the bay is lukewarm like a bathtub and very shallow until quite far out, which makes me feel safe as the idea of being in the ocean over my head scares me. We go out every day for about a half an hour and jump into the giant waves that crash to shore, splashing and squealing with the locals. It is bliss.
- The church bells in the town centre ring at various times throughout the day and I love hearing their echo. They are far enough away to not be grating and so early in the morning and late at night we hear them mixed in with the sound of crickets and the wind.
- Everything here is in technicolour. It's so different from the North American communities where you are only allowed to paint your house one out of six approved shades of grey. It reminds me of a collage, how everything is glued together, even when it doesn't really fit.
- The children are very friendly, saying "Hola!" and even occasionally "Hello!" when we pass them on the street. They often go by on vintage bicycles, usually four or more clinging to every possible surface of the bike: seat, handle bars, back wheel. Beautiful, nut brown babies with shining black hair and soulful eyes. They mostly seem really happy and, along with their parents, the bugs don't seem to bother them.