Friday, February 25, 2005

Phoenix 101

I moved from Australia to the US on November 17th 2002. In other words, I moved from a climate that was building up toward summer to a climate that was just winding down toward winter. It was cold in Phoenix, no doubt of it. Not bitterly so but I did go a year and a half without a summer.

My wife and I met in Australia in January 2000. Not one of the hotter summers on record for Melbourne. She, it seems, came away with the idea that Melbourne doesn't get all that warm. So, when I moved, she felt it incumbent upon herself to warn me about what was ahead of me. She overdid it somewhat. All those stories of temperatures in the 115 F range and how I was going to find it unendurable. I, of course, was used to summers that reach 105 F and, rarely, peaked at 112. (That peak occurred in February 1968. There was a higher peak of 114 in February 2003 but I'd moved by then).

So came the summer of 2003. I can be a stubborn and contrary bastard when I want to be, as I'm sure you've noticed. There was no way I was going to admit that it was perhaps a trifle on the warm side.

Along the way I learned perhaps the most valuable lesson you can learn in Phoenix. If you're going for a walk take water. You can get amazingly thirsty on even a short walk. This is the middle of a desert!

Quite some years ago I got into the habit of taking daily walks. This particular obsession reached its peak in 2002 - I'd do at least 8 Km's a day. In Melbourne I could do that kind of distance and not feel all that thirsty. Not in Phoenix. It's so dry that in midsummer a 100 metre walk can leave you dry mouthed. Even in winter you get thirsty much more quickly than I was used to.

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