Living in the Caribbean: Sun, Sweat and Siesta

As droplets of sweat drip down my back within five minutes of riding the bus, I wonder how people could ever live in a place this hot, with this much humidity. And then I think: Oh yeah, I live here. 

I teach English in Barranquilla. I still shake my head in disbelief upon uttering this truthful sentence even after eight months. It should have sunken in by now, right? Nope. Not quite. It is still very much surreal despite having already reached the halfway point. Why? Because the passage of time here is very skewed. It defies seasons and climate change, the stuff I’m used to back in good ‘ol Jersey.

You wake up in August and wonder how in the world six months have gone by without you actually realizing it. Leaves don’t change. It doesn’t become colder. There is no OMG-can’t-wait-for-pumpkin-spiced lattes-in-fall. There’s pretty much just wet or dry season. Even when the infamous arroyos rush through the city blessing us with mugginess and, quite honestly, complete shock, the humidity snatches up the rain rapidly. There is essentially one climate: summer. A year of summer, as my roommate so aptly calls our time here.

I still don’t think I’ve become accustomed to the heat; I think I’ve just accepted that I will be sweating all day, every day. Even minutes after I shower. Especially when I’m cooking. Just, you know, all the time.

Sunshine is happiness, though. I’m lucky enough to wake up not having to check the weather. Living this close to the equator means pretty consistent, cloudless rays of joy.

And sweat is acceptance. I’m crazy enough to workout in my room where I’ve sweat more than I’ve ever sweat in my life despite positioning my fan directly in front of me.

Thus, siestas are a coping mechanism. This heat sure is tiring. Apart from stripping down upon entering my apartment, taking afternoon naps with my fan has become a regular occurrence.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love Barranquilla. It has become my home after only eight months in all its sizzling glory. But when they tell you it’s hot, they sincerely are not kidding. It is balls hot. Barranquilla balls hot.


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