Hot weather in Malta arrives with no warning signs whatsoever.
Red ghibli blows one day followed by a heavy shower of Libyan mud, and sizzling heat fries your head and stops time the next.
I always preferred winter and snow to (Maltese) summer.
Of course, God has a great sense of humour, he decided to plonk me right in a place where it never snows.
Yes, there are people in Malta who have never seen snow in their lives.
It’s like never having tasted ice-cream.
So, what do they do in winter?
Brave the red ghibli?
That’s not fun.
Making a snowman is fun.
Building a snow fortress and shooting ‘the enemy’ with snowballs is fun.
Staring up towards the sky with your mouth wide opened – while it’s snowing – is the best fun of all.
(I made my three-year-old son do it for the first time this winter (not in Malta, of course).
He shrieked with joy like no hot summer day would make him shriek.)
And have you heard of anyone having fun staring at an August sun in a hot climate destination?
It’s like voluntarily putting your head in a working pizza oven and staying in until your hair catches fire.
There’s nothing romantic about staying in a room that’s been unnaturally cooled by a growling air conditioner in summer either.
Compared to a crackling warm fireplace in winter.
Well, except if your neighbour (like ours) isn’t suing you because your fireplace ‘smells'(?!?!) (I’m serious, we received several letters from a lawyer. I just wonder where our neighbour found a lawyer who reasons that there’s something illegal about fireplaces that smell of burning firewood. Moreover, what person – lawyer or not lawyer – in their right mind think that fireplaces don’t smell…of burning wood, not of burning carcasses, just to be clear! I won’t be surprised if the guy sues us next time for using our barbecue. Because barbecues smell, too. But then again, no wonder – these guys aren’t used to cold climates and the smell of burning wood. They’re used to the smell of their burning flesh when it gets 50C in August. So, there’s some cultural discrepancy that’s causing us a lawsuit right now).
Either way, there’s still one, maybe two good things about hot weather.
1. You just can’t possibly think of going shopping in the sizzling heat outside.
2. Then, there’s the beach!
Although I need convincing about why would someone, out of his free will, want to lie on the beach, under the sun, and grill himself like a sausage.
And turn himself every now and again – to grill evenly!
And get his kids along – grill them, too!
I remember my mother in summer calling my brother and I every time – “enough in the water now, come here and lie down on your towels a little”. It’s like, “come, lie on the grate for a 20 minute barbecuing! And don’t forget to toss on every side every 5 minutes! We don’t want to sear unevenly now, do we!”
Yeah, that should have been a positive thing about hot climates.
But the shopping.
I recommend hot climates to shopaholics.
Your brain is frying slowly in the heat and you don’t care about clothes or even buying any new ones.
You just want to take them all off and not ever put on a single item.
Can you imagine lying down in the burning sand, sweating, no, hallucinating from the heat, with cracked dry lips because you don’t have the willpower to get to the nearby cafe and buy yourself a bucket of ice, and at the same time start building a shopping list: “I need a woollen hat, a pair of leather gloves, a cashmere scarf and a shearling coat. They’ll all be on sale right now, that’s fantastic!…”
The thought of it is enough to get yourself a sun stroke.
And the temptation to buying summer clothes isn’t any stronger.
You don’t need to think of winter clothes, or buying any of those in summer, but you certainly can’t think of buying any summer clothes either.
The willpower and the desire levels are below all possible standard levels.
Especially for shopping!
Nothing compares to a cold drink and a swim.
Not even the best bargain outfit!
I always thought, what fun, summer is coming, I’ll buy a new dress.
Then, even if that happens, I regret it, because I always end up wearing shorts and my husband’s baggy T-shirts (that’s because I’m unemployed. The office people have it differently).
The desire levels for anything really, is pathetically low in July and August.
Unless, of course, you gross a 6-figure salary and holiday in Barbados for the peak summer months.
If you’re a mother of two, expecting a third, in the beginning of a post-grad work, in a house overlooking a construction site, you’ll struggle with cheering July and August in Malta.
Let alone think of shopping to pick yourself up.
Husbands cheer July and August.
And then mourn September.
When temperatures drop, women come to their senses, and sales begin.