Monday, August 27, 2012

Dry, dry and dry again

Sometimes I forget that there's a thing called rain. We've now been back from Ireland for just over a month and we haven't seen a single drop of it for the whole of that time. Every morning I wake up to a beautifully clear sky (even though I'm normally up before the sun) and it stays that way for the whole of the rest of the day. It's been a fairly constant 24-26 degrees for most of that time as well, which is pretty impressive when you consider that we're still technically in winter out here.

But boy, is it dry. Dry and still. You don't really notice it at first, because you're too busy topping-up your tan in the winter sunshine and secretly enjoying the fact that when you Skype your parents they're stuck indoors in the middle of summer because it's chucking it down outside. And dry days have the added benefit that they keep the smell at bay. Out here it's the rainy days that bring the smell of sewage wafting up from the river - at least at first. After a few days of biblical-scale rainfall, however, even São Paulo smells pretty fresh.

But eventually it's the little things that start to remind you that there really isn't much moisture in the air - the fact that you're always thirsty, that sandpaper feeling in your mouth when you wake up, and the fact that both your children have started having regular nosebleeds (in the swimming pool in James' case). The ubiquitous dust and the brown air you can practically eat with a knife and fork also help.

Apparently the other day was the driest in São Paulo since some time in the 1990s, with humidity at a staggering 8%, although I'm not sure whether this was absolute, relative or specific humidity - and yes, I have just been looking it up on Wikipedia. A state of emergency was declared (not exactly sure what that means though) and the news channels were recommending draping damp towels around the place to remoisten the air.

Thankfully, the drought has not led to a hosepipe ban however, and the usual army of domestics is still out there every morning, watering their pavements and washing their cars with merry abandon. I can only think that most Brazilians know perfectly well that the dry season is only going to last for another month or so, after which the rains will come again and all this aridity will be forgotten overnight, washed away in a perpetual downpour that will no doubt have me blogging about how wet and miserable it is out here!

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