Hi there, reader. How you holding up with the porteño heat? Not the most productive of seasons this summer, huh? I know, I know. I myself am finding it very hard to process thoughts and achieve any semblance of daily activity without a full-blown A/C unit in my vicinity.
There are two ways of dealing with these upcoming months: you can complain about it endlessly or you can write an article… and complain about it in writing. I’ve chosen the latter, and these lines are the result.
To be quite honest, if this is your first ever summer in Buenos Aires, you should be very grateful. It’s been a pretty benevolent start to the season, with Christmas and New Year’s in particular providing some much-needed stretches of breeze. This, after all, was a far cry from that hellish December 24th back in 2012 that reached 50.6ºC. So yeah, you’re welcome.
But there’s still a ways to go, so we’ve decided to put together this handy set of tips to help you survive or even thrive (scratch that, just survive) the months of heat in this city. But first, a GIF that perfectly encapsulates the dog days of summer. Remember, lo que mata es la humedad.
Tip 1: Drink water, not beer (for the most part)
So I don’t know if you’ve heard this before, but staying hydrated is kind of an important thing in life. And it’s even more so during these hot, humid, “please take me Lord from my suffering” days of porteño sun. This tip is specially true if you’re part of that huge swath of the population that wishes to exercise the hell out of January to make up for all the crap you ate in December (shame is the best reason for getting fit, that’s what I always say). With warmer temperatures, we should consider the additional water our bodies lose. If you don’t replace it, you will become dehydrated, and that’s just not good. No one wants to spend a sweltering Sunday in the guardia of the Hospital Fernández.
To recap, water is important. Nevertheless, it is one of the most boring liquids around, especially when you compare it to sexier beverages like beer. I mean, who doesn’t love a good cold beer on a hot day? (Reminds me, why do the craft beer bars serve the elixir lukewarm?!) But it’s very important to point out that, no matter what your drunk uncle tells you, beer cannot replace water when it comes to hydrating. In fact, all alcoholic beverages dehydrate your system. Buzzkill.
Yes, I know, I thought beer was a friend as well. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables is also a healthy way to get even more water into your body. Plus, photos of big slices of watermelon look cool on Instagram.
Tip 2: Love thy neighbor that has a pool
Friends are those with whom you share the best of life’s moments. But friends are also those with whom you share the difficult times, the sadness, the hardship. But above all, friends are those who share their pools with you in the summertime. When you think about it, there truly is nothing quite like soaking yourself in a nice pileta on a hot day, maybe only comparable to soaking your body in other bodies of water, such as the sea or a river (except the Riachuelo). It almost has a spiritual angle to it, since it can pretty much just wash your troubles – inflation, anyone? – away.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have this friend in different moments of my life and the first advice I can give you is to keep in touch with him/her all year long. Do not, under any circumstance, be that douche that only pops your head up in December with a friendly “hiiiii” that anybody in a ten-mile radius can identify as fake. Send them best wishes when it’s their birthday (not through social media, try to personalize it with a phone call or edible arrangement, you know, something classy), invite them to your own birthday, be a sport and launch the occasional “what have you been up to” in the dead days of winter… Remember: It works if you work it.
Tip 3: Aim high
There’s plenty a bar/restaurant that has been waiting several months for this time a year, an opportunity to fill up those pretty outdoor terraces that just gather dust and sadness during the colder seasons. If there’s a cool thing about summer it’s definitely these spots, the possibility of drinking a beer outdoors with your amigues while staring at the city and drinking the occasional glass of water for hydration (you thought I would forget about the water, didn’t you?).
It’s also a nice time of year for those places that now seem to have established the trend of just taking over sidewalks all over town, which is kind of neat if you’re a customer, but also kind of obnoxious if you’re just a person passing by, trying to, I don’t know, walk your dogs (it seems crazy, but I did see this situation once in a bar in Palermo and it did not go down well). So this summer, take advantage of the few viable rooftops before they return to hibernation and become suitable for only one type of crowd: smokers.
Tip 4: The two most important letters in “Shopping Center” are A and C
Funny story: last summer, my cousin and his wife were staying with me and my wife in our small, air conditioner-free apartment. Week two saw us wandering helplessly around the living room trying to find respite from the heat. It was like a scene from a zombie movie. That was until one of us came up with a simple, yet brilliant idea, one suitable for our less-than-ideal-economic situations: why not go to a mall and take advantage of their A/C? The trip became an almost daily affair, one in which we would take the short trip toward at Alto Palermo, Solar de la Abadía, and other spots, and just roam the aisles staring at shit we couldn’t afford, but happy and cool nonetheless.
The Shopping Mall Technique (I just christened it that, so feel free to use it) is sort of a masochist strategy since it requires you to go to stores that are usually offering items on sale, yet completely aware that you have absolutely no money in your bank account from all the spending in December (or just inflation, because Argentina). But you can always call it a day by grabbing one of those McDonald’s ice cream cones that have pretty much stayed the same price for the last 50 years for God knows what reason.
So there you have it, a comprehensible quick guide to surviving summer in Buenos Aires. The only other thing to keep in mind is the plethora of amazing concerts and activities that pop up every week around the city. Besides its caveats, summer is truly a fun time even if you don’t have the resources to travel to the beach or the super-human ability to survive 100-degree temperatures with 90 percent humidity. Stay strong, and see you in otoño.
El calor nos hace peores personas.
— florencia ? (@florencia) December 17, 2016