Sunday, 27 April 2008

Taking the heat

After six months in the tropics, I’d say we’re about as acclimatised to the heat as we’re ever going to get. Unfortunately, I still sweat profusely with quite low levels of activity, talking to a patient, for example, or slicing our home-made bread on a Sunday afternoon. I am convinced that I sweat more than my fellow volunteers, although Rob thinks he rivals or surpasses me. That we sweat in the heat is not surprising, however we have noticed of late our increasing sensitivity to cold. Of course it never gets “cold” here in the Solomons, but our goalposts have certainly shifted.

Departing Australia in October, I remarked to Steve that it would be another 18 months before I had cold feet again. I and the other females in my family are rarely without our fleecy slippers at home, trying to prevent iciness of our extremities. Walking on chilly surfaces such as tiles in a Melbourne or Auckland winter borders on painful, but surely there would not be such problems for me in Solomon Islands? It turns out that twenty four or twenty five degrees these days is practically Arctic, and the kitchen lino in these temperatures is cold to the point of being mildly painful!

Sitting down in the evenings sees the temperature drop below thirty degrees, usually, which is comfortable. Lose a couple more degrees, and, with the fan running, I start getting cold. Steve thinks I’m crazy, and won’t let me turn the fan off, so I have been resorting to long-sleeved shirts and light trousers recently. I am not quite resorting to the winter woollies that the Solomon Islanders do, but all the same, would never have dreamed of feeling chilly here.

Our coffee and tea consumption has risen again as we have acclimatised, and we now think nothing of having a cuppa in the afternoon despite it being thirty one degrees or so. Steve’s favourite coffee mug, his Greenlane Christian Centre mug, has just lost its handle in an unfortunate fall during Steve’s haste to get himself caffeinated. He is distraught but consolable, and refuses to drink coffee from anything but the handle-less vessel. I may not be able to convince him to leave it behind when we go.

In nine weeks time, my mum, dad and brother are coming to visit. I’m hoping that they will sweat more than me….and maybe bring me a few more long sleeves.

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