It’s still cold at night. And by cold I mean like 70 degrees. It’s chilly and with the windows open and a fan on, one might even be confused into thinking they don’t live in the tropics. Until they wake up and the heat, the heat that starts at 6 am, smacks them in the face. Just a friendly reminder. You live on a Caribbean island. And welcome friends! It’s summer.
The water in the faucet is lukewarm, but even still, it’s so hot that that tepid water feels like ice cubes falling on your head. No lie. And the second you turn off the flow, the sweat comes and the hope of getting completely dry is gone.
Dominican women – pelo bueno or not – wash their hair minimally. And it gets done in the salon. All washed and conditioned and put in rollers to sit beneath that stand-up dryer. Or blown out. It’s a little much for me, but I won’t deny my trips to the salon when I’m too lazy to blow-out my own hair. Except in the summer.
Because not only is the heat enough to fry and egg on the sidewalk, it’s quite possible that there’s enough stagnant humidity in the air to boil an egg there as well. So, even if the salon is air-conditioned and the heat from the blower isn’t able to melt what’s left of you, as soon as you step a foot outside the hair goes right back into that nasty bad-perm curly after you spent an hour and 15 bucks getting your hair did.
The good thing about Dominican summer is that it happens to coincide with hurricane season. And while I’m the last one wishing any more natural disasters on this island (or nearby), hurricane force winds and rain are the only thing that truly cool this place off for more than an hour at a time. Of course it’s a horrid catch-22 because rains here tend to debilitate people here the way snow does in, say, Philadelphia. So, rain brings sweet relief only to be enjoyed from your own private balcony. And, of course, a bad hair day.
Tonight might be the last cool night I get for another three months. If that’s the case, don’t go looking for me in the salon down the street, I’ll be sitting under a fan with my feet in a cool bucket of water. And with no place to go, who cares if my hair looks like I just came in from a torrential downpour and then stuck my finger in the socket.