Germany greeted my return last week with stifling 35C heat, an unwelcome upgrade to the pleasant 25C I had been enjoying on Canada’s best coast for the past month. I can handle 25C. Anything more however and I start to shut down, my body overheating like a dust-chocked computer (how’s that for poetic imagery, eh?). Just the other night I was off playing cards at a friend’s apartment in the top floor of a Nachkriegsgebäude. It must have been at least 40, if not 45C – the sweat dripping from our foreheads, sliding down our arms – a veritable sauna – and this all at midnight!
The heat plays havoc too with my attempts to throw off the jet lag resulting in rapidly taking one’s body violently from one side of the world to another by way of a 10 hour flight and a time difference of 9 hours. Between the heat and the jet lag I find myself absolutely wiped all morning and into the early evening, when the slightly falling temperature coincides with a burst of wakefulness, leaving me energized and unable to sleep until at least 2am.
In an effort to beat the heat the other day my roommate Luzian, his girlfriend, and I all went to a Badesee a 15 minute drive north of Trier. A Badesee is what the Germans might call a swimming lake, though I’d more call it a swimming hole, at least this one. To my Canadian sensibilities it more represented a rather large and rather brownish pond unceremoniously dug out of a farmer’s field. Don’t get me wrong, it was exceedingly pleasant, especially given the vineyard-covered hillsides encircling our little valley, with massively tall bridges carrying the Autobahn from one hilltop to another. I welcomed the chance to swim even if the water dried sticky on one’s skin.
An aging dyed-blond Baywatch-extra stood guard with something of a David Hasselhof about himself, his hands firmly placed on his hips. He hiked up his red swimshorts as he surveyed the swimmers, then retired to a lawn chair next to the two military surplus medic bunkers-turned lifeguard shelter where he could occasionally cast a glance to make sure everything was as orderly as it ought to be.
It all presented a very peaceful scene, broken only by a mother at the next set of towels over, calling out to her children in strong local dialect. “Dominic, fing dat Ding ma’, – Dominic, git dat thing there,” she shouted, “die Gelbe! – the yeller one!” It was obviously time for them to go, and she could barely contain her lack of patience as Dominic faffed about getting around to retrieving the yellow float. Besides, Dominic was too busy waggling his eyebrows at the girls giggling with whom he had until just now been conversing on top of the large anchored inflatable raft.
The family packed up and left. I meanwhile laid back, and putting my arms behind my head, enjoyed the sun’s heat. Maybe it’s not that bad after all, eh? Besides, who knows how long it’ll last.
…oh. Well, let the job search continue!