In Heat

The heat’s always the first thing that hits you. As soon as you step off the plane into that brief space of outdoor air between the fuselage and the airconditioned airport bridge, the sensation is not unlike that rush of air from an oven. I often joke that the Philippines’ three seasons (tag-init, tag-lamig, tag-ulan) could be more appropriately named “Too Hot, Not Too Hot, Hot and Wet.” In December we’re just coming out of “Hot and Wet” — the typhoon season — into “Not Too Hot,” when the amihan, a cool seasonal north wind, tempers the climate with air swept from the frigid northern wastes of Siberia.

For the few days I’ve been here so far, however, it’s felt just like summer. Our low house being surrounded by higher wind-blocking neighbors is no help either. As I sit here in 32°C heat at 80% humidity, I wonder how I survived three and a half years in that tiny shared room in Parañaque without airconditioning, with just an occasional swampy breeze for respite.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, it’s -10°C, with winter weather advisories.