I am happy to report that the heat here in Brisbane broke on Monday evening. It didn’t rain as it should have, according to the forecast, which is a shame; the grass is burning up out there, despite the looming gray clouds.
And that’s interesting: There’s grass here. A lot of it. Lawns and parks, all turning that familiar straw yellow color, something I associate with hot dry summers at home in Sacramento, decades ago. Only here, the grass is an interloper, and the heat is humid — I haven’t had hair this curly since I last lived in Washington, D.C.
People joke about the US capitol that embassy employees posted there from, say, Britain or Sweden used to pull extra hardship pay to live in the sweltering District. I understand that this is a fairytale (but true for places like New Orleans: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/30/AR2008083001565.html), thought I could totally see why. Over 85 deg F and high humidity can be brutal, and even more brutal is that transition between outside and in, where the air conditioning was usually on full force. My glasses used to fog up upon entry to one of my former workplaces.
Not so here, where AC use seems more moderate, and people tend not to refrigerate their homes. (We don’t have AC in our rental, which Matt laments.) As in Sacramento, evening breezes can make it quite pleasant here. But wow, on those hot days last week, it was truly hot. (The NY Times on the heat records here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/10/world/asia/record-heat-fuels-widespread-fires-in-australia.html)
And while I might be joking with my colleagues in Stockholm about the temperature differences, and how cold it is there, I would hazard that they would be miserable here in summer. Scandinavian warm weather is closer to 20 deg C (around 70 deg F), and it’s been 30 deg C every day here.