For two years in a row, my big travel trips were in the hottest month of the year. (At least in the northern hemisphere. I’ve never been across the equator so I actually have no idea if it gets hotter in December than in July. I took a geography class in university on weather and climate. You’d think I’d remember this. I clearly do not.)
The first time I travelled in July, my friend and I went to New York City. The land of concrete that holds in heat and makes you feel like you’re in an oven that happens to be called Manhattan. (I do remember that part of Geography 101.) And things were hot. Uncomfortably so.
Things seemed to get exponentially worse as our five-day vacation wore on. By the last day, we couldn’t make it from the southwest corner of Central Park to the southeast corner of Central Park to go see the penguins. So we found a rickshaw driver and paid him to drive us what would have been a 10 minute walk. It was a heat-induced laziness I had never before experienced.
And then a year later I was living in Germany, travelling around, and I ended up in Paris at the end of July, and somehow things were so much worse. Even though they were probably the same.
My friend and I had to get creative when dealing with the hottest part of the afternoon. The first day we commandeered a bench outside the fountain that sits across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. It was an afternoon filled with shade and the most entertaining people-watching I’ve ever experienced. The best was a young woman oiling up her boyfriend who had the skin of a worn leather shoe.
The second day we thought we’d hide in the flat and go out at night, which worked well as we watched French-dubbed Sweet Valley High and Family Matters. Then we learned that the Metro and buses stop running in the wee hours of the morning, but I didn’t even care because I was riding the high of finding the street where Owen Wilson steps back in time in Midnight in Paris.
The third day, we hid from the heat by sitting on a bench in a quiet wing of Le Louvre for several hours. It worked pretty well.
But things would have been so much better if past me hadn’t decided to go to big walking cities in the hottest month of the year.
Future me has learned her lesson.