Nothing Takes the Heat Down Like a Good Heavy Queretaro Rainfall
Our first month in Queretaro, Mexico has been characterized by the one environmental feature we were hoping to avoid by coming to this part of Mexico: High temperatures.
I’ve never liked high temperatures. (Fascinating side point: Moose can’t tolerate temperatures above 22° C without serious health implications. )
Let me explain what I mean by ‘high temperatures’ so that I’m not misleading you. My favorite temperature to be walking or working outdoors is -10° C (14° Fahrenheit for our American friends.). At that temperature, a good jacket and a toque is all you need to be comfortable. In Calgary, when the temperature first starts to climb into the low teens (above freezing) in the spring, folks typically abandon their coats, because that is considered ‘t-shirt weather’. Anytime the mercury climbs above 25° C, that is getting pretty hot.
Of course, every summer in Calgary we typically do have to endure a week or two of ridiculously high temperatures at the height of summer (anything above 30° C qualifies), which means that people have trouble sleeping and the few friends you know who anted up for central air conditioning become intolerably smug. During those nights, I would usually end up sleeping in the basement level of our home to escape the heat.
Given the parameters above, I am sure you can understand how the consistently thirty-degree-plus daytime temperatures I have routinely endured almost every day since arriving in Queretaro are a challenge.
Adding to the problem is the way our rental house is constructed. Almost everything is built from concrete, tile and terracotta, which heat up all day in the direct sun only to act like an infrared heater for many hours after sunset, making it difficult to get the hot air out of the upstairs (bedroom) level of the house.
When we do get out of the house (which is four or five times a week), the mornings typically start out at a very comfortable 15° C, but with each passing minute the temperature starts to climb. By noon, it is already getting uncomfortably warm, and the temperature only continues to increase through the afternoon.
Ever since arriving in Queretaro, all our local friends had told us that the ‘rainy season’ normally started during the last weeks in May, and that the unseasonable heat (which has been challenging even for locals) would then be somewhat tempered.
Based on this hopeful prediction, I would scan the skies each afternoon, waiting for a hint of the clouds that would deliver promised relief.
Finally, yesterday, after a month of waiting, I experienced a proper rainfall. This wasn’t the same as a rainy day in Calgary, which would usually be limited to a few minutes of light rain that usually dried away within hours. It certainly wasn’t anything like the days of non-stop drizzle and gloomy, slate-grey skies I endured for years back in the 1990’s in Vancouver.
When the rainfall came to Queretaro, it arrived as a pounding, blustery torrent that poured from the skies. It was a warm, saturating rain that bounced off our car and filled the service patio behind our house so quickly the floor drain couldn’t keep up. The downspouts of the house were hard pressed to evacuate all the water that built up on the flat roof, and they delivered water out onto our front walk like a tank that had sprung a leak, completely flooding our bit of lawn before joining the moving torrent that made our street look like a river.
What is a guy to do when presented with such a torrent of clean, warm, free water? It’s obvious: Grab a sponge and wash the car!
Given how pathetic the city water pressure is here, and the fact that we are billed for all water used, there was no way I was going to let all this great water go to waste.
When the heaviest rain got going, I grabbed an auto sponge, squirted a bit of liquid dish soap onto it, and rushed outside in a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops to wash the car down. Within seconds my shirt was soaked to the skin, but after all the heat of the afternoon it felt glorious.
I have no idea what the neighbours must have thought. Lots of Mexicans already think that Canadians are kind of crazy, and my antics likely did nothing to improve that image. But I didn’t care… The sky was delivering the kind of water volume that I have only been able to dream about since arriving in Mexico, and there was no way I was missing this opportunity.
As I was vigorously scrubbing down the car, rain streaming down my face, the neighbours across the street arrived home. Rather than just dashing the three meters through the rain to their front door, they spent five minutes awkwardly
struggling into brightly coloured rain ponchos inside their car before finally making a run for it. I imagine I must have been quite a sight to behold, standing outside with no raingear of any kind, washing my car as I watched them try to avoid getting wet.
I really hope that the rainy season is getting started in earnest now. It should go a long way to making us more comfortable in our new city.
Pretty much anything I can do to mitigate the heat will be most welcomed, even if I do look like a ridiculous ‘extranjero‘ while I take advantage of it!
Update: July 17, 2018
The rainy season here in Queretaro began in earnest a couple of weeks ago. We had experienced some heavy rainfall already, but the storm that blew in two weeks ago was something else again! This was an honest-to-goodness tropical storm that shook the windows with thunder and lit up the night sky with one lightning volley after another, and left the streets running like rivers from the torrential downpour.
I’ve been working on my video editing skills, and produced the clip below to capture the mood of the storm. Let me know what you think!