For those of you who are enjoying this wonderful time of year, thinking "Boy I could live here all the time!", let me tell you about our summers. I actually feel deserving of the weather this time of year after having stuck it out throughout the summer months... although our summer storms are something to behold.
Life in Puerto Vallarta in June, July August and September:
It's five to six in the evening and the sun is accelerating towards the horizon. The hot air hangs heavily around you, as it has all day, and you don't know if the salt on your skin is from seawater or sweat. Your head pounds with the relentless humidity. Then the sun's red tip touches the horizon, suddenly revealing the silhouettes of palms on a distant island, shimmering in the heat haze. The mirage vanishes, and with it the daylight. There is a pause in the rhythmic purr and cheeps from the undergrowth and a whisper of wind flickers in off the slowly-cooling sea.
The weather in PV is anything but delicate. The humidity can hover in the nineties for weeks (who am I kidding, its really months,) and you only get relief when the moisture in the air hits saturation point and promptly collapses on top of you. So if you're not dripping with sweat - you're soaked to the skin.
Wind, when it finally comes, makes up for weeks of stagnant air by turning up in the unmistakable shape of a hurricane. Or the breeze slaps you on the face like opening an oven door. Rain doesn't so much come in drops, but in jets. As for seasons, don't think 'spring, summer, autumn, winter,' think 'hot, hot and wet, warm and wet, nice,' and throw in a few destructive local showers for good measure.
So how do we do it? It may be tough if you're living in Vallarta in the summer, but at least you're forced to take it easy. There'll be no dashing from museum to gallery - Ha! We locals can be seen sleeping in the movie theaters in the afternoon though, and I always like to get to my meetings at least 1 hour early for the air conditioning... oh, I mean to meditate...
And at least the weather reminds you that it's here - and so are you. When it's 95 degrees outside, and the humidity is at 94%, at least you'll never turn the corner and think, 'it's just like at home!' Unless you live somewhere more exotic than I do, that is.
So how do you survive it? First rule: take it slow. Were not lazy down here, we're smart! We just give into that tropical "lassitude." Rule #2: Clothing should be avoided whenever and wherever possible. (Without offending the locals, of course.) And without getting sun burnt, which can happen even when it's cloudy.
Another plus is that during the summers, appetites get much lighter, so we skip heavy meals and graze on tropical fruits - which taste quite different when they've ripened under strong sunshine rather than under supermarket strip lights. I actually lost 78 pounds the first 6 months I spent here!
Even if you are a mad dog, stay out of the midday sun. The only ones that are working on a tan in the summer are those of you who only have 1 week to prove you were on Vacation in Mexico. Summertime gives us an excuse to take a long lunch, and a longer siesta (an art I have perfected, and which works all over Latin America.)
So put a straw in the top of a fresh, green coconut, get yourself comfortable in a hammock (remembering to lie across rather than along it, of course), and just wait for that sunset breeze. Get up early, when it's cool, find a cool spot to escape the heat of the day, then go out, and stay out, late.
If you turn up at a Mexican restaurant at seven o'clock, you'll eat with other tourists. But if you want to eat with the locals, they come out around 10 pm. And there's nothing like strolling along the Malecon, eating ice cream at midnight. So enjoy our wonderful winter weather here in Puerto Vallarta - and if you're brave - come back and visit us in the summertime.