The heat almost bowls me over. I don’t know if it is because it is actually really hot or it’s simply a stark contrast from the air-conditioned aeroplane I’ve just emerged from. At least my arms are no longer covered in goosebumps.
As we walk from the aircraft, across the tarmac to the airport, a young girl says to a German backpacker “I hope you are okay. I live here, I should be used to this heat, but right now I am boiling!” She’s not the only European struggling. In front of me at the shuttle bus stop a delicate, pale English lady whispers to her husband, “I’ve never felt such heat. It warms you from the inside out and touches your soul.” I wasn’t expecting such eloquence in the middle of the Aussie outback. A girl in my dorm has just come from Cairns. It was hot there too but a different kind of heat. Humid. This is different. She can’t decide which is worse.
This is a dry heat. There is no wind. Everything stands still. All the sounds have been muted, like the heat has rendered everyone and everything too exhausted to make a sound. Consequently, it is so peaceful and calm standing outside. Even inside people don’t speak in order to conserve their energy. The loudest noise is the constant hum of the air-conditioning but you quickly become accustomed to it and it fades into the background.
The air feels heavy. It pushes on you like a weighted blanket. It wraps you up in its embrace. It fills all the holes and crevices outside and the gaps between your fingers and toes and strands of hair. It makes it hard to breathe; like it is when you are in a cubby house made of sheets.
Although it is uncomfortable at first, I come to like this heat. I like how it drains the energy from me so I am forced to slow down and not rush from place to place. I like just sitting still and observing my surroundings in my drowsy, peaceful stupor.