Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Summer and winter

Even though El Salvador is north of the equator, this season is called verano, summer, by Salvadorans. Summer is the dry months, from November through April, and some of the things we associate with summer happen then. The school vacations are in November and December, and it's a favorite time for travel and fiestas. These first months of verano are the coolest time here (a relative term - it gets into the high 80s, but cools down nicely at night), especially because there's less humidity in the air. Most people say that March and April are the hardest months because it's very hot and very dusty and there's no rain.
The wet months, from May through October, are called invierno, winter. It's easy enough to get around in the city during the rainy season - everything here is built to handle the rain - and the rain does a wonderful job of sweeping the streets and cooling down the day (as in this August photo from a PazSalud Eye Surgery mission). But out in the campo, the countryside, rain means isolation and difficulty. Unpaved roads turn into swamps. It's hard to get anywhere, and the mud is everywhere. And it's the fungus, mold and mildew season. And the mosquito season. And the hurricane season. So it's winter.
There's no spring, no fall, just the dry summer and the wet winter, and these two seasons we share with countries all around the world at these latitudes: dry time, monsoon time.

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