November 22, 2006

Cold front again, sorry

I told myself I wouldn't write about the frente frio (cold front), since I know that many of you are from Canada, Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and other chilly places and I know that you scoff at the thought of 60s°F (18-ish°C) being cold.

Usually I scoff at the 'cold fronts,' too, but this one is different. I just looked at my weather thingamabob and it says 64°F (18°C) at 8:30 p.m. and I just can't stop myself any longer. This is cold, folks!

Everyone is writing about it. (
Belize, Juticalpa, Honduras, Guatemala, La Ceiba, Panama) You have to remember that our houses are not insulated, the windows are crappy (wind comes right through them), there are no furnaces, and the humidity makes the slightest drop in temperature seem bone-chilling.

We had about 5 days of rain. Yesterday the sun peeked out from behind the clouds for an hour or so. Today seemed to be the coldest day yet but we did have sun and a lot of wind. Tomorrow's high is predicted to be 64°F (18°C) with a low of 59°F (15°C) and a 60% chance of more rain.

Luckily, I have some big old baggy flannel pajamas that I'm wearing to bed with socks. During the day, I'm wearing my one and only pair of flannel sweat pants, a T-shirt, a long-sleeved flannel shirt, and socks with my flip-flops. Quite a fashion statement, but anything to stay warm. This weekend, I pulled out my one and only thin jacket (that I hadn't used in two years) and wore it going out to dinner.

My chihuahuas are really suffering. The Chihuahua breed is from Mexico and they really don't like cold weather. Their ears are cold to the touch when it gets below 80°F (27°C). Joey likes to sleep on my lap under my shirt, so we are keeping each other warm. I feel like a kangaroo.

Sometimes Zoe and Joey like to sleep together in the warmest spot in the house.

Even Chloe the Rottweiler has been crying at the window to come in. I put a blanket on the cold ceramic tiles for her and she slept in luxury for hours yesterday. I even let her sleep inside one night. The water guy stopped by yesterday wearing his bulky down jacket.

Although it is the rainy season, having weather this chilly in November is very unusual for La Ceiba. It has always been the last couple of weeks of December and first few weeks of January. I don't remember it ever getting below 60°F (15°C).

Monday, COPECO (sort of a national emergency agency − hah!) declared an alerta amarilla (yellow alert) because of the rising levels of the rivers. The Rio Cangregal, which is closest to where we live, has risen 3.15 meters (10.3 feet).

We are far enough away and high enough that the river won't affect us unless the bridges get closed or washed away. That's not likely since the bridges were built by Japan or Switzerland (not sure what country) after Hurricane Mitch destroyed most of the country's bridges back in 1998.

We are also lucky in that where we live we can get to town on two different bridges. Many communities are
incomunicados (cut off) because of a bridge or road washing away.

I'm not complaining! As Caribbean Colors said, "It's free air conditioning." We are luckier than most in that we have some warm clothes, a big fluffy comforter for the bed, and don't have to worry about flooding.

Most disturbing to me is that one of the electrical towers in the middle of the Rio Danto (another large river on the other side of La Ceiba) is in danger of falling. The electrical system in Honduras, particularly on the north coast, is so precarious that a bird landing on a wire can put half the country without electricity.

If this tower goes out, you won't be hearing from me for awhile.
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