Moaning about the weather again…

The sun is back in its appointed spot bang in the center of our window. No matter how early I rise, it’s always high up in the sky bathing our living room in retina-scorching white light. After months of long winter, I seem to have exchanged the endurance for heat I brought from India (howsoever meagre) for my resistance to cold. While my parents were weathering 42ºC in Delhi, I was moaning about 24ºC.

Since bright, sunny days in Amsterdam are quite rare, they are much revered. There is a general sense of festivity in the air that usually manifests itself in impromptue barbecue in the parks and beer parties in the streets and on the boats in the canals. I find myself quite unable to work up the enthusiasm. Quite the opposite - I sulk like Dickens’ Scrooge (my redemption is complete only when I am visited by the next inevitable batch of rains) while everybody and their dog is out in the skimpiest of clothes soaking the sun.

The sun these days shines relentlessly till 10:00 PM. I often drag myself to bed around the same time. But the light outside makes the mind spurn sleep’s soothing embrace.

Our home; and homes in general here, don’t have ceiling fans. They are also built in a way that the occupants can live comfortably through sub-zero winter temperatures without burning the quantity of fuel that propelled Apollo 11 to the moon. The net result is that on a warm sunny day, our home in Amsterdam is quite reminiscent of our home in Delhi during a summer power-cut. This makes me homesick. But more importantly it makes me uncomfortable and quite unable to sleep at night.

After waking up grumpy from the lack of sleep for two days, the wife finally procured a standing fan today. She lugged it home on her cycle - Dutch style. It has made the home a lot more bearable. Our apartment faces a road. While opening the window lets the cool breeze in, it also lets in a lot of ambient city noises (the occasional ambulance siren, the callous motorcyclist). Eventually, the mosquitoes also find their way in. Now the mosquitoes here are not of the dengue, malaria bearing variety of the tropics, but that doesn’t make their tuneless buzzing any less annoying. Once the windows are shut, you are cut out from the breeze and the noise and can even hear yourself breathe. Today we make our own breeze. The soft whoosh of the fan dominates the background. It’s a soothing white noise that should make for a lovely sleep.

P.S. The Accuweather forecast page for Amsterdam, has two types of clear days: Sunny and Bright Sunshine.

P.P.S. With summers the cruise ships are back. Even after a year of seeing them regularly, I am amazed at how huge they are. This morning a Costa Crociere ship went past our window. I was quite surprised that the company is still in business. A ship from their fleet sank earlier this year off the coast of Italy. The fiscal consequences must have been enormous - not to mention the indirect losses from litigation and the loss of customer trust. I must find out who they buy their insurance from. Once the ship docks in Amsterdam, it becomes a part of the city’s skyline (given Amsterdam’s maritime history, I find this quite poetic). It is visible from the 5th floor cafeteria of my office:

A docked ship becomes part of the Amsterdam skylineA docked ship becomes part of the Amsterdam skyline

[Look for the yellow ship funnel with a blue C in the top right corner between two buildings]

P.P.P.S. The best part of sunny days are long sunsets. The sky - undecided between dusk and night - is orange and all shades of blue between cornflower blue and midnight blue all at once. The windows of the buildings reflect their individual interpretations of the sunset’s orange.

Each window interprets the sunset’s orange in its own unique wayEach window interprets the sunset’s orange in its own unique way

The cool, strong breeze carries the smell of wet grass and is quite redolent of that smell after rain in India (there I go again)…

May 25, 2012