I am sitting in my cold office at my regular work in Dundee. Apparently it is -5 degrees out there with the wind chill factor. My mind drifts to Iquitos and the surrounding jungle. People often ask me what the weather will be like there. Hot and humid I say. "Will it be summer or winter?" they ask. Wrong question. "Will it be the wet season or the wetter season?" Average rainfall is anywhere between 1000 and 5000 mm. This time of year, our winter, is the wetter season when the rivers will grow rapidly until by April they are flooding villages and even the city of Iquitos. It rains a lot, most days. But oh, what glorious rain! No driech drizzle but full on Amazon rain, the kind which stops play. Actually it stops everything - the moto taxis don't go looking for customers as it is too wet and locals don't go about their business in the rain. People don't head out to church or parties when the rain comes down. Taxi boats on the river don't sail. The kids love to run and play in the rain but the adults will warn them of catching their death of cold in such conditions! Frankly a walk in the pouring rain with the ambient temperature of 28 degrees is delicious. But that's a gringo talking.
But it is the heat I am thinking of today. Average daytime temperatures are in the region of 25-30 degrees, but can get to 40 in exposed sun. There is not usually much wind. A few days a year the temperature goes below 20 degrees in the daytime - even I have been heard to comment about being a bit chilly and needing my cardigan when it goes that low after endless days of heat and humidity. One time I was there and we had daytime highs of only 15 for almost a week - I was enjoying being able to feel comfortable all day, walk around at speed without sweating and not being dehydrated - but the locals were in woolly hats, scarves and coats! If they didn't own such items (as many don't, there is normally no need) then they stay at home huddled together waiting for pneumonia and bronchitis to get them. There are prayers lifted for the babies and children whose little bodies cannot cope with such temperatures.
As I sit here in my office (on my lunch hour, which is why I can write this!), with my boots on and fan heater valiantly trying to make us feel comfortable, I reminisce fondly of light summer clothes and flip flop wearing, forgetting the discomfort of incessant heat and humidity. Ah, what fickle creatures we are, and how we should be thankful for the wonder of changing seasons.