It is 32 degrees outside, and has been for the past several days. This would be fine with me if it was referring to Fahrenheit, but unfortunately it has been a hot, sweaty celsius-fest in Prague — in a city that does not believe in the virtues of air conditioning. The fact that I am residing in an official, U.S. government residence does not guarantee central air as one might suspect. In fact, it was only this week that we have finally had a single, noisy, free-standing unit installed in our bedroom which vents in an extremely unattractively fashion to the exterior, and manages to cool a mere 1/5 of the room.
Hot flashes (which I am suffering from) do not mix well with heat. Because I did not care to stay cooped up in my bedroom like a hermit, I tried various ways to to cool off.
The zoo. Having never been to the Prague Zoo, I thought it would be a worthwhile excursion to get the heck out of my stuffy house, and I was partially right. It was certainly a positive experience in that I spent the afternoon with my friend Kristen and her children in a very lovely setting. She makes me laugh, so that in and of itself is always a welcome distraction. The recently renovated zoo was impressively large, with exceptionally nice habitats that were obviously constructed for the benefit of the animals. That is to say, we were actually jealous of the polar bears, penguins and elephants who all went for a swim while us idiot humans slathered on more sunscreen and tried to hide in the shade. Kristen shot a pretty cute iPhone video (with her commentary) of the baby elephant taking a dip. I actually considered jumping in with them. Being the first time I have tried embedding a video in my blog, I was pleased to see that the heat has not affected my technical aptitude…
“Elephant Valley” was a terrific exhibit overall, and came complete with a Buddhist Gompa as homage to the elephants’ lineage. Never missing an opportunity for self-deprecation, I desperately tried to channel my inner chilly zen, followed by participating in a bad impersonation of Vishnu.
A fun day, but definitely not a way to beat the heat. I will return soon though to check out the giant salamander exhibit where I am sure I can learn a few tricks from the reptiles. More importantly, the zoo is not only child friendly, but also dog-friendly. Can’t wait to go back with Diplo-dog to see how she reacts to the big cats!
Next up – Pool Day. Steve decided that taking a very long, hot walk yesterday would still be better than staying in our house that is now a furnace. As much as I moaned about the heat in Tampa — at least there was air conditioning to be found EVERYWHERE. Nevertheless, off we went in search of iced-lattes and lemonade with a dog that kept looking at me with the “Don’t you know I am wearing a fur coat” expression that she perfected back in Florida. By the time we returned, I was drenched through and through. I just wanted to jump in our historic 100 year old pool as did Lexi, but sadly, due to structural damage was filled with dirt this year. While not refreshing, we hope soon to at least have a pretty garden to look at.
Lexi nor I were going to be deterred by several tons of dirt. It was just too darn hot. So we did what any reasonably hot mammal would do and seek out the closest watering hole — in this case our neighbor’s kiddy pool. Ice cold hose water was just what we needed. Neither of us took the time to put on a bathing suit.
Finally – A Snow Day. When I realized today was going to be 32 degrees again, I was overjoyed to find out that Czech class was cancelled. Why was this so exciting? Well, Czech class is held in a conference room on the forth floor of the Embassy (also not air-conditioned), where it is hotter than Hades. I tell this news to my son Bradley over breakfast who said “It is like having a SNOW DAY!!” and asked what I was going to do instead. “Study Czech of course since I have been slacking”, I answered. “Don’t get so excited. You THINK you finally have a chance to catch up and get ahead in class. But that will never happen!!”, he said.
Snow Day. Hmmm. Maybe he was on to something. So I wistfully visualized back to 2010 when the Fahrenheit version of 32 dumped about 32″ of snow on Baltimore. THAT was a snowy day and then some. Bradley spent Snowmageddon chilled out on our buried Adirondack chairs instead of getting ahead of the learning curve.
Just thinking about it chilled me off a bit. Sitting directly in front of the air conditioning unit while blogging, and drinking iced-coffee all day might have also contributed (the hermit option, ultimately). Bradley of course wanted to know upon returning from work if I studied Czech all day. Of course not, but I had cooled off finally — So much so that I suggested going out to eat Vietnamese Pho. “Pho? Hot soup? That is your dinner suggestion for the hottest day of the year in Prague? That is like having popsicles for dinner during a blizzard!”, he quipped. Maybe so, but you can never underestimate the power of a snow day in Prague to cure a little flash of heat.