Feel an April Day

Jacarandas at Central Park in Antigua Guatemala by photos.rudygiron.com

Jacarandas at Central Park in Antigua Guatemala (Rudy Girón)

No sign of dawn yet. In La Antigua Guatemala well-bundled people are scurrying along the alameda or cutting through the central square, heading to work, dressed in layers of sweaters and jackets though the air is still and pleasantly cool. At the bus stops, clumps of shivering students have their hoodies up and arms crossed to keep warm as they wait, commenting “how cold” it is today.

The sense of “how cold” is relative. Most of the Northern Hemisphere would delight in an April morning as fresh and mild as this day in Guatemala. Most others going to school or work in Europe or in our Northern Hemisphere would be comfortable with a light sweater this morning. Not Guatemalans and foreign nationals—“how cold” is their morning complaint, whatever the thermometer says.

By mid-morning, garden workers have shucked sweaters and jackets, down to a sweatshirt or maybe two. “How hot it’s getting!” is the new mantra.

More layers come off as kids leave schools for lunch and join the flow heading to eat, then back to classes and work. Guatemalans tend to be modest folk, not stripping to shorts or sleeveless shirts in the heat, though a few tourist hunks may show off topless. But now “how hot today!” is the universal cry. This lasts until late afternoon, when “how cold!” returns in earnest and layers of clothes go on again.

Remember the 24-hour temperature spread in the Highlands is only a handful of degrees, whether you’re thinking 12 to 24 in Celsius or 55 to 78 Fahrenheit. April is the warmest month, but an 80F/27C afternoon dropping down to 55/13 overnight wouldn’t stir most Northern Hemisphere’s folk the way it brings the “how hot!/how cold!” cries from our local friends.

Feel an April day. Listen to the temperature comments. You’ll enjoy each hour’s slight change, and you’ll be amused at the reaction to this time of “eternal spring.”

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