It’s that time of year again. When the air gets dangerously still. So unmoving is the atmosphere, that stepping out at midday can make it hard to breathe. The sun beats down, radiating off of every surface and stifling you. The evening breeze brings blocks of thick balmy air, lazily stirring in clumps. Almost as if not moving at all. My top floor, west-facing apartment turns into a furnace every afternoon, and by the time I’m home in the evening, its ready to bake. It’s that time of year again. The time I dread and fear all year long.
I know, its strange, to live in Goa and dread the summer. But having never lived in a humid, hot summer-all-through-the-year kind of place, I didn’t know what hit me when I moved here. You’re probably thinking Duh, what did you expect? Let me tell you what I expected.
Of course I expected endless summer days spent lying in the shade of over-sized beach umbrellas, in a different shack every weekend. I expected to comb the many beaches, putting my swim wear to good use. In a way that would leave me feeling beautifully tanned, salty and hydrated, cool and like the complete water-baby that I really am. I expected to be sipping on Pina Coladas, in tall glasses with colorful umbrellas sticking out the top. I expected to be reading book after book, racing through them as the summer stretched on before me. I expected to watch the world go by through tinted over-sized sunglasses. End of dream.
Well, at least, some of the time.
But then this is what life is really like: My morning are a sweaty rush through chores, and leaving home as I mop my upper lip, I feel like I haven’t showered at all. I then spending all day wishing people would just shut the door behind them so that the damned overworked AC could do its job. My concentration is broken time again by thoughts of wishing I had grabbed the spot right in front of the AC, away from the constant passage of warm air that swims my way with open arms, every time someone comes in to the room (and forgets to shut the door behind them).
The rest of the day is spent affirming that it is indeed that time of year again, perfect for undressing, like someone at work put it eloquently the other day. I’m dying to bring out all those pairs of shorts, cool summer dresses, flowy skirts, spunky cut offs and the like. Yet, all I can fit my fat self into are jeans. Because it would be inappropriate to subject co-workers to inordinately large amounts of flab that I have come to accumulate. Ugh.
For the last three days, when the sun goes down and I’ve been dragging myself back home, I mean to the oven, which successfully reaches that exact temperature optimum for freshly baking a batch of freshly kneaded loaf of bread. And on each of these days I’ve thought to myself Yep, the worst time of year is here. It’s summertime.
But summer evidently still has something in store for me. After a morning of listening to the lovely Amy Winehouse on loop, I headed over to Tea Cafe in beautiful old Fontainhas, with she who slips sidewaystosound. And it is there that I discovered my very own little town could give me the joys of brunch! A concept I thought was too fancy for my beloved Panjim, steeped in its simple small-town-joys. Grinning wildly, chatting away nonstop, we wolfed down a portion of fresh cold beet and carrot salad with feta cheese, a slice of chorizo quiche, a serving of roasted turkey sandwich, and three tall glasses of Vietnamese iced coffee between the two of us, and all was well in my world again.
If you’re in Panjim and you want a nice cool (in more ways than one!) place to refresh yourself, go to the Tea Cafe. Treat yourself to that wonderful concoction of black coffee on the rocks, minus the milk, minus the sugar. But with a drizzle of condensed milk (ohmigawwd!). And see how it can make everything right for you again. If you’re feeling adventurous like me, have two glasses and watch how all plans of catching that lazy long afternoon siesta get kicked out the window, in an instant.
Somewhere between being hopped up on all that caffeine and trying to get a hold of all the million ideas that were bursting out of my mind (who know caffeine sparked creativity?!), I realised that a sunny Goan summer afternoon still has a few surprises for me.
Goa, I heart thee.