When we flew to Brazil from the UK on 1st February it was about -2C in London. Upon arriving at Guarulhos Airport in São Paulo the following day it was 20C – though it was only 7.30 in the morning. By midday the temperature was in excess of 30 degrees and it has shot above this pretty much every day since then. As such, the view from our new home has rarely looked anything other than like this:
So, you are probably asking, what is the problem? “That’s a very nice view”, “You’re in a hot country, what do you expect?”, “It’s bloody snowing in the UK, stop complaining”, etc, etc. Well, what I have learnt is that things can change very quickly in São Paulo.
One day, sometime during our first week, I mocked my wife as she dug around in her handbag and pulled out an umbrella. Having seen the forecast on BBC World Service the previous day (Brazilian news channels may as well be Chinese news channels for all I can make out at the moment), I was pretty sure that there was no reason to expect anything other than blistering heat, so the following reaction seemed reasonable.
“What the bloody hell have you got that for?”
And then as I pondered the 35 degree heat, and the fact that it felt as though my face was being roasted on a BBQ, I thought that perhaps I had been a bit harsh. Perhaps, I thought, I should give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she had been thinking of me and brought it to use as a sun shield. How rude of me!
“It’s going to rain”
“Rain? Are you actually mad?”
I can only assume my accompanying facial expression was similar to the one that she pulled when I first took her to see my football team (Gillingham – 4th Division) in the UK and told her that I wanted to go to the ‘Gills Megastore’ – a mixture of confusion, shock, and incredulity.
Oh but how wrong I was. Later that afternoon, as I sat on the balcony admiring the view you see above, something scary started to happen. The wind picked up and then something grey and nasty quickly appeared on the horizon and headed our way. Half an hour later this happened:
So, it did rain after all and on an apocalyptic scale. However, within another half an hour it passed over and then the sun returned, it was 30C again and the evening brought a beautiful sunset.
Nevertheless, when my wife’s parents returned home later that evening I thought it would be a good topic of conversation to bring up using my finest Portuguese.
“Chuva. É louca!” (Rain. It is crazy!)
I accompanied this remark with some wild arm waving to emphasise the point, an interpretation in case they thought I meant I was crazy – obviously, waving your arms around is the best way to dispel any notion that you might be crazy. Again, I thought it a given that this would be a reasonable observation.
“No, when it’s really bad the river overflows” (translated by wife).
This was said with a shrug of the shoulders, as if it were normal for a hurricane to hit your home.
So yes, the weather is a bit crazy (louca). Unlike London there is no such thing as light drizzle and a heatwave does not equate to the sun popping out from behind a cloud for five minutes every now and again. No, when it rains it RAINS and when it’s hot it’s BLOODY HOT.
Anyway, my wife was correct (this happens a lot), and so when we go out now I make sure she takes her umbrella. Just in case.