After more than 2 years here, I am still surprised by how quickly the seasons change. Spring and Autumn don’t really exist. One week it is Winter, the next it is Summer.
I brought with me from Australia many clothes that are what we used to call in the fashion industry “transeasonal”, thinking I could layer different skirts and long shirts with leggings and pants and be modestly dressed in all seasons. But Egyptian seasons defy this.
Last week I was sleeping under sheet, blanket and a lighter cover, and sometimes with a hot water bottle for my eternally cold feet. This week I am under only a sheet, and if it were not for fending off mosquitos, I would not need the sheet. I have washed and packed away all winter clothes and exchanged these for the transeasonals. But already these are becoming too hot to be walking around in middle of the day, though they are fine for early morning and evenings. Last week Habibi cat was sleeping all night close against me for warmth, this week she stays for a while, then moves to the end of the bed, and during the day prefers the cool ceramic tiled floor. She enjoys the garden in the evenings now and heads out there as soon as I arrive and open the doors. My washing dries overnight, no need for it to hang all day or two days as in winter.
The Red Sea water has gone from chilling to deliciously cool at midday, though still too cool in the early morning and evening for me. I walk along several beaches to work each day rather than take the road. I wear thongs and paddle at water’s edge, and leave my “good” shoes at work to change into there.
This week we have had two days that make me feel this summer will be hotter than last. Ramadan is July to August, so that will be the most demanding time. I am really trying to dress modestly all the time I am outside the house, but some days I struggle with this and just want to have my arms and legs bare. It is hard to break the habit of Australian summers where I could walk down the street wearing very little, and a mini skirt and singlet top were acceptable even in my work environment on the hottest days.
Here I was fortunate to have Ain Guba (Cleopatra Spring) to swim in daily in Siwa, and now the Red Sea. Thoughts of this gets me through the moments when the heat and layers of clothes overwhelm me. And as you see above, there is good company at the beach…