ne of the typical questions asked by tourists when they find out that I live in Alanya permanently is:
But how do you bear this heat?
My answer is: I don’t.
I don’t, indeed. I dislike heat although I used to think that I liked it. But it is easy to love heat if you live in European weather conditions and experience it in rationed and strictly limited doses. Then every temperature around 30 and 40‘C is cherished – we wear the airiest clothes, splash cold water onto our bodies, go on a picnic, whine and complain (“oof! What a heat!) while enjoying it inwardly because we know that winter will arrive sooner rather than later.
The situation is a bit more difficult when the heat is a norm, something that comes annually and always. You don’t bother to check the weather forecast – don’t have a habit of doing that. You simply KNOW it is going to be hot and that’s all. And every day is the same – from June to August, sometimes until September. Day by day. And night by night, because the temperature at night falls 10 degrees at most. There is no rain, no coolness, a continuous heat with no break. You have to get used to it.
And that’s what I have done – I’ve got used to the heat :)
During these 12 years in Alanya I’ve worked out my own ways to cope with the Turkish heat. I still do not like it and I’d love to change my staying in Alanya at this time into holiday in Poland. But, as they say, nobody is going to do the work for us :)
Here are some tested approaches to the Turkish heat. They guarantee a quite endurable heat as well as health:
Drink a lot and eat fruit
Seems obvious, but it turns out that not everyone carries this simple rule into effect. Personally, I hadn’t been following it for many years and I felt much worse. As far as drinks are concerned, I don’t just drink ANYthing. I drink cool (but not cold!) sugar-free soft drinks. I prefer water with lemon and fresh mint (a kind of lemonade), fresh orange juice and green tea at room temperature. I definitely cut back on the amount of ice, which usually gives me nothing but a sore throat the following day.
I gorge myself on fruit with high water content, for instance: melon and watermelon. I sometimes prepare cocktails made of them, but never freezing cold.
S ip warm Turkish tea
Contrary to appearances, warm tea (not hot!) is a great idea for the summer. Arabs, who drink tea with mint, or Turks with their ‘çay’ couldn’t be wrong. It’s worth trying.
It helps not only in winter but also in summer. I take a shower – warm and cold by turns. If I get the chance, I go to a Turkish Bath (Hamam) to heat myself up. Yes – in this heat! Hot moisture cleans the skin, opens the pores and makes the open air temperature more bearable :)
Limit the use of the air conditioning
It sounds crazy but I really use the air conditioning as rarely as possible and I never ever leave it on when I sleep at night. Yes, in Alanya!
There are two reasons.
Firstly, the air conditioning is nothing but evil – bacteria, high electricity consumption etc. But the second reason is related to coping with high temperatures. The more we use the air conditioning, the less insensitive to the heat we become. After all, we’ll have to leave home sooner or later :)
My earliest experiments with the lack of air conditioning date back to the year 2010 when instead of turning it on I kept opening the windows and balcony door, causing a natural and free air flow.
It was the first summer I enjoyed.
Yes, it was hot. And yes, I happened to sweat at home. So what? Sweating is a natural and human thing. You can always take a quick, cool shower in order to refresh yourself. At least there is no heat-stroke or weakness when we go out since we don’t experience such a huge difference in temperature. What is more, we don’t sweat like a horse because our body has already got used to the heat :)
Even if I use the air conditioning, for example at my office, I set a pretty high temperature, e.g. 24’C. I’m writing about it because I know many people (especially in Alanya) who set their air conditioners on 18’C. I wonder what for?
Ride a bike
Some of my friends put their bikes into storage for the Turkish summer and claim it’s too hot for this type of entertainment. They prefer driving a car than cycling. So, first they sit in this hot metal box and try to cool it down with the air conditioning. Then, they breathe all these bacteria in :)
Or they take the city bus – which personally, I consider hardcore. Cycling in the summer is the biggest joy – wind sweeps your face nicely, you cover the distance quickly and hardly ever sweat! In addition, you get used to the hot air and no heat will scare you. I also claim, but I have found no scientific evidence to prove my theory, that any kind of physical activity in the fresh air (even when it’s hot) strengthens the body and makes it easier to cope with the heat outdoors and freezing cold indoors. I haven’t been ill during the summer for many years now although I used to get a cold in the past – maybe that’s the reason?
What does adequately mean? Blue jeans shorts or tight-fitting cotton blouses are not for me. After years of sweating in ‘sexy’ fitting blue jeans, I’ve learnt that rather longer, loose and airy clothes are the best. That’s why I’ve been choosing skirts but more often trousers (because of the bike!) – the simpler the better, without any zippers, bands or narrowing.
Additionally, light and airy blouses – even if made of some synthetic fabrics like polyester or viscose, loose enough won’t make you feel hot. I’ve already forgotten about sweat stains on my T-shirts and I feel much better :)
And that’s all – six trivial ways to beat the heat.
Of course, I could add something like:
- I spend all day in the swimming pool
- I don’t leave home at all
But then it would be maybe less boring but also less true. Currently, I don’t have a swimming pool nor the time to sit in it. What a shame :)
Do you have any ways to deal with the heat? Is this list useful in your opinion? Share it with your friends!
I’m going to post an entry about taking care of your health in the Riviera very soon!
Translation by Anna Maria Bielecka