YESTERDAY it was 39 degrees Celsius and fans and air-conditioners were in overdrive. That equates to 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Today the mercury is sitting at 25 Celsius, a drop of 14 which is not remarkable when you consider that this is Melbourne.
This kind of swing can happen in a single day; there have been summer days when it has been 40 Celsius during some part of the day and half that by evening. By bedtime, it can even time to pull out a blanket.
A famous saying about this city is that you can experience all four seasons in the space of a single day – and it’s not an exaggeration.
Summer brings its share of hot days – the highest I’ve seen in the last 12 years is 42 Celsius which works out to 108 Fahrenheit – but the mean works out 20 Celsius for the highs and 10 for the lows. Overall it is more than bearable. I love it.
Some people find the wild swings unmanageable, especially when it gets cold. Many retired people move to warmer climes as the cold has its attendant health issues. Arthritis is common.
Melbourne’s weather is particularly welcome for anyone who comes here from the Persian Gulf. There the temperatures stay constant for days on end; there are just two seasons the hot and the cool.
Seven months of the year in the Gulf are bearable only when one lives in air-conditioned dwellings. There are two distinct types of heat – some months the mercury rises to as much as 44 degrees and the humidity stays relatively low. And by low I mean something around the 60 percent mark.
August and September sees lower temperatures but the humidity more than makes up for, residing in the 90s all the time. And there is no change, it goes on day after day after day.
It’s a peculiar kind of heat and one has to experience it to understand what it feels like. The heat in Asian countries is an entirely different kind of beast. Sri Lanka, India, Singapore, Thailand are all different from the Gulf region, though the heat is always unpleasant.
But no region is as bad as the Gulf region. And yet people work outdoors even in those climes.
The entire Gulf region was built on the back of cheap labour from the Indian subcontinent and much of it was done in the summer.