I was little surprised to find that yesterday was the hottest day ever recorded in Vancouver. In no small part because the record temperature rang in at only 33.8 degrees C (92.8 F): warm, no question, but a normal summer day where I grew up in Saskatoon.
It put me to mind of my first day flying to my new job in Hermosillo, Mexico eleven years ago. In a sense, a job that marked my introduction into the field of education technology. I boarded a plane on a pleasant July day in Vancouver, changing planes in Phoenix. I could feel an unfamiliar intense heat coming through the walls of the airport concourses of Sky Harbor, and I knew I had entered a wild new climactic experience. A couple hours later I landed in Hermosillo. I was at something of a low point back then, career-wise, so when this opportunity came my way I was determined to make the best of it. But when I felt that blast furnace hit my face walking out of the airport I went a little weak at the knees, wondering what the hell I had just done. The number I remember bandied about as the temperature high that day was 48.5 degrees (119.3 F). Which would mean, if this particular edit of Wikipedia is correct (other data in the entry indicate records as high as 55 degrees), that I arrived in Hermosillo as it was achieving its own record high. That was a revelatory drive into town, tires were exploding just from contact on the sticky asphalt.
The city doesn’t have the best set-up for its climate. The ubiquity of concrete and pavement just intensifies the sensation, and most houses are made of cinder-blocks, which means homes heat up like brick ovens and don’t really cool off at night. My first house had one loud but ineffective A/C rack in a back bedroom, so there really was no escaping the heat, all you could do was sit in a shady spot outside drinking Tecate cans served up in bags of crushed ice and feel your brain melt into the sand.
That all said, I have nothing but fond memories of Hermosillo, la ciudad de mas macho. Fun people, fantastic cheap carne asada taco stands seemingly on every corner, ranchera and banda music blaring loudly from cars, storefronts and houses. Every observation seemed charged with near-hallucinatory intensity. On a day like today, I even find myself wondering what 48 degrees would feel like…