Since we'd left Alaska in April, we'd been searching for it. As we cruised through Canada, explored the Western coast of the U.S. and the beaches of California, always we searched for it, but it seemed to elude us.
We found some in Utah, a little bit in Arizona (though not as much as we would have liked). Even Northern and Central Mexico, though temperate and pleasant, lacked it once the sun went down.
We were searching for warmer weather. Since leaving India in May of 2010, then spending a chilly summer and a cold winter in Alaska, we'd been searching for a place where we could sleep comfortably at night with only one, or zero, blankets on.
Another thing we'd been in search of was a beach - one that could be enjoyed without the need of a winter coat. We'd visited Bishops Beach in Homer, Alaska, but winter gear was definitely required there.
So now heading southwest from Oaxaca and El Tule, toward the Pacific Coast and Juchitan, we were eager to set eyes on the ocean once more, and hopefully find a beach that would have weather warm enough to swim in.
As we neared our destination, we spied on our left, a large body of water.
"Is that it? Is that the ocean?" It must be, we surmised. So we asked directions to the nearest beach.
They were given, although in a rather odd manner, with a look between confusion and amusement. The directions took us through the center of town, and as we were low on groceries, we decided to stop first at the market to resupply.
Shutting down our temperature controlled vehicle, and opening our doors, we were hit forcefully with a wall of heat and humidity.
"Oh boy, I think we've found warm weather."
Sweat dripping from every possible orifice, we shopped for mandarinas, manzanas, platanos, calabasitas, cebolla, and other fruit and vegetables. With drenched clothing, we hunted for tortillas and a few other necessary household items.
It was great fun, we always love the local markets. But oh, it was hot and muggy.
Then we spied two large, black iguanas with their feet tied and a leash around their necks, lying on the ground next to a table where an indigenous looking woman sat.
"What are the iguanas for?" Greg inquired.
"For the tamales," was the reply.
"Iguana tamales?" he asked incredulously, "This I've got to try, just to say I've done it."
To this the kids revolted. "No! You can't eat the iguanas. Can't we keep these ones as pets so they don't get eaten?"
That wasn't a possibility, so instead we just bought two tamales at $5 pesos each, and took them back to the truck with our other purchases, explaining as we went, that people eat animals, even if we like them.
After Greg ate his iguanamales, as we called them, which tasted "good, but mentally was a little unsettling, especially with the dark iguana skin inside them," we drove to the beach.
Multicolored boats sat nestled in the sand, and various children and families were picnicking, or bañando in the water.
Mountains towered above on the opposite shore. This clearly wasn't the ocean. At this point, it didn't really matter. Give us some water, any water, to escape the heat.
Like the refreshing reprieve of fall after a long hot summer, the fresh water revitalized our heat-weary selves. We frolicked and played and picnicked, and enjoyed ourselves splendidly.
But like all good times, this one came to an end. As we drove away in our truck to search out home for the night, the air-conditioning that spared us from the full force of the sultriness, began to fail.
We drove west for a very long time, with the sun beating down upon us, and the air flowing in and out of the windows, but providing very little relief from all-encompassing warmth which wrapped around us like a giant blanket.
Intending to 'get to higher ground' to camp for the night, in hopes it would be cooler, we were becoming a little cantankerous and hungry (not a good combination) and after a long while, couldn't wait any longer to stop.
Taking a turnoff, we parked next to a verdant embankment on a dirt road. Stepping out of the truck, I came face to face with a giant spider web.
"Oh my, we have reached jungle and I don't know if I'm ready for it."
As we grabbed a bite to eat for dinner, we gazed at the light and shadows which danced on the peak rising above the deep-green vegetation and tawny-yellow field stretching before us. We heard the call of a bird, and caught a glimpse of a flock of wild green parrots.
But still the heat weighed heavy like a great oppression. "Are we really ready for warmer weather, and everything that comes with it?" I inquire.
Then the attacking ants and mosquitos drove us madly into the truck to seek refuge.
As we sat inside the cab, which worked quite effectively as a sauna, eating our dinner, with sweat dripping down our noses, mayhem ensued.
We couldn't get out without being eaten alive. We couldn't stay in without suffering from heat-induced psychosis.
As the children and I begged Greg to pack us up and take us to the mountains, as usual, his sanity remained, and he reasoned with us and worked hard to make us comfortable.
Braving the mosquitoes, he placed a mosquito net over the truck windows so we could roll them down and make it bearable, and set up the roof top tent, so Atlas and I had a place of refuge.
Lying blanket-less in my tent, with a now somewhat cooler, sleeping baby, I realized that we now had more than we had wished for when it comes to warm weather.
As my husband continues working to get the kids situated for the night, I feel grateful for this awesome guy who helps make all things bearable.
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