Life around the world

Tuesday, 31 December, 2013 - 17:04

South America - not as warm as you might think

by IainG

There are stereotypes about every nation and every continent in the world: They say that Mexicans are lazy, Germans are punctual and British people are forever talking about the weather. 

In talking about the weather with my fellow countrymen, I realise that we, along with many others I presume, have stereotypes about the weather around the world.

Now living in South America, I constantly come across the notion that this is a very hot place.  Back in the UK, there is a myth that here  in South America, the sun is always shining and that the locals do not even know what cold feels like.

I suppose it does stand to reason: generally speaking, the closer you are to the Equator, the warmer it will be.  And, indeed, if you are in coastal areas of Colombia, Ecuador, and other neighbouring countries, the temperatures can be exceptionally high, regularly going over 30º Celsius. 

The weather in many places in South America can be very pleasant but just it is a continent of diverse peoples, traditions and cultures, it is also a land with a very varied geography and, naturally, that means a wide range of climates.

As I say, the coastal areas here are very warm but, as you move further inland and climb higher into the (spectacular) Andes, the temperature falls.

Last night I travelled by bus from Guayaquil (in the lowlands of Ecuador) up to Quito, which sits at some 2700m above sea level.  As the bus left Guayaquil, the windows were wide open as a refreshing breeze provided relief from the almost unbearable heat (high even at midnight).  As we journeyed further along our route, however, the temperature fell drastically and the cooling breeze turned to a bitter and sharp wind.

Now in Quito, sitting in the strong mid-afternoon sun, it is pleasant enough to walk around in just a t-shirt.  Nonetheless, I know that this warmth will soon fade away and it will be a cold night.  In a city where it rains eight months out of the year, the night will be cold and, in spite of all the people who think I sleep with the air conditioning on full blast, the reality is that I will be sleeping - or shivering - under a pile of thick and heavy blankets.


What is your favourite kind of weather? Do you like being in the sun or do you prefer the cold?

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