Monday, April 26, 2010

Sweat

I grew up in a country where, over the summer, it could reach an easy 120 degrees. You walked slow, stayed in the shade, and scheduled your activities in the late evening and shops often closed in the midday sun.

Here, it is not so much hot as it is humid. It's nearing the end of the dry season in the second rainiest capital city in the world, and the air is accumulating precipitation nearing what feels like 99%. The sun is out in a searing, colorless heat at noon, but unlike the Arab world, no one stops.

Security guards frantically wash cars as they bead with sweat, trying to finish before you come out of the supermarket with boxes of shopping. Men pushing carts of water gallons or bundles of pipe sweat profusely, shrugging their shoulders to wipe the sting from their eyes because their hands are occupied. It is only the women who stay dry, and who I study, sitting on crates before bitterball and batteries, seeming not to care whether they're shaded or not, never seeming to soak their lapa dresses--like I do--in thick patches of perspiration.

I don't feel too bad. A 1.5 liter water bottle chilled, when left until room temperature will have accumulated almost three tablespoons of water. I've started to carry freshly-laundered washclothes around with me, wiping my face as I roll the window down to talk to a policeman or before I walk into the air-conditioned section of the bank. "Oh, you're doing what Liberians do," an expat friend visiting the new flat told me when he saw how, with the power out, I was coping. I bought my blue and green ones at an intersection for 20 LD and I think it's a smart solution.

At least until the rain comes.

1 comment:

  1. Elie,
    Sounds fabulous! miss you. I love reading your blog updates but I need more pictures. I am not quite as literary as you are. I am more of a visual learner. =)
    Ali

    ReplyDelete

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