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Monday, November 16, 2009


A heatwave that struck. Never before have I experienced such high temperatures. It has been unreal.

Today it's Monday the 16th of November. The heat has "eased", and there's a slight change in the weather - or so the locals have been calling it - but us backpackers or travellers are still feeling the heat because it's 39degrees in the shade. Can you imagine what the temperature has been before today, if 39 can be called "cool"?! Since Tuesday last week, it's been above 43degrees. Some afternoons it's hit 46 and 47 in the field. A scortcher, as the ozzies would call it.

The first day it hit, was Tuesday and it was bad and so sudden. Especially taking into account that it's only Springtime right now, not yet officially the Summer, and 2 weeks ago the afternoon temperature was only around 24 and the mornings were chilly.. Which was so pleasant, especially if you're out in the field working "hard". Within the space of 3 days, the temperature rose by 20 degrees. So it's safe to say that it knocked the whole region off their feet. And it's been the earliest and longest heatwave in this area since 1896 apparently.

For me, the heat is usually a welcome treat, but I wasn't able to cope as well as I would have hoped I would, once the temperature reached 40. Tuesday I suffered badly. We've been working through the heat, but only until 11am each day.. And on somedays we were delighted if we would even make it to that hour. So Tuesday I was doing well, while we were out in the field. But as soon as I stopped, it hit me. I didn't realize just how exhausted, drained and hot and bothered I was. The first 2 hours after finishing work that day, I can't remember. I was so overwhelmed by the heat, that I just zoned-out and couldn't communicate. I was in tears for no reason and doing anything was an effort. Once I started to feel better, I had to rehydrate.. But it was hard to keep up with the amount of fluid I was sweating out. It was an awful feeling. And after that episode I was almost scared to go out in the sun when it was hottest. Even being out in it for a few minutes was horrendous. The wind would be so hot and just the air would make it painful on the eyes.. I steered clear of the outdoors, as much as poss. I had to.

It was a long week, after that.. And we so cautiously had to go about our daily things, just to make it through each day. Thinking clearly was a struggle and making decisions was out the window. Everyone in the hostel was effected by it. Exhaustion I think was the worst. And then the nights would be hot and sticky, and sometimes it was still 27degrees at midnight. It effected everything.. Only having an appetite when it got cooler at night then sleeping in the afternoon and working only in the morning and just saving every ounce of energy. There was simply never an opportunity to revive.

This lasted for around 5 to 6 days. And now it's a few degrees cooler, but from Thursday it's to reach the 40's again.. I could go on and on about it, but I think I've gotten it off my chest for now. And the worst should have passed..hopefully.
For now though, we finished the job we were doing on time and have a different job starting tomorrow, which will only be for 3 days.. After that, the plans should start coming together and you'll be the first to know.

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