Saturday, January 14, 2017

Winter Comes to Cuba After a Long Hot Spell

Winter Comes to Cuba After a Long Hot Spell / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez

14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 9 January 2017 — Havana is a winter
scene. The waves pour over the wall of the Malecon in the low areas, the
winds shake even the thickest branches of the trees, and people huddle
together all wrapped up as they pass through the streets. The cold front
arrived last Saturday, changing the image of the city that, until a few
days ago, had experienced the fifth warmest December since 1951.

The drop below 68 degrees Fahrenheit was felt first in the west of the
island and by Sunday had spread to the center and east. The cold has
arrived accompanied by rain and high winds that have reduced attendance
at schools and workplaces.

The winter effect is also seen at the Coppelia ice cream parlor, where
there are very few customers. "This is the best time of the year to
come," said a customer, who took advantage of the low demand to order a
bowl with five different flavors.

Older people complain of the pains in their bones that come with "the
cold," while tourists continue to stroll through the historic center of
Havana in light clothing and with a thick layer of sunscreen on their
skin. For them the idea of winter in Cuba is a joke.

The official press has warned of "the desirability of protecting
children, the elderly and people afflicted by certain chronic diseases,"
but housing problems force many to spend considerable time outdoors, in
parks and streets, given the tight housing conditions which make
coexistence indoors a challenge.

This is, in addition, the season of love. "So you can hug, without so
much sweat all over the place," said a teenage girl in love, curled up
next to her boyfriend in a doorway on Galiano Street. In May or June
they will probably only walk hand in hand, if even that.

The most elegant take out their scarves, berets smelling of mothballs
after long months of storage, and turtle-neck sweaters. It's "now or
never" to wear these items. In a few days it could be back to the
eternal summer that the tour operators promote and that the nationals
must endure the rest of the year.

Specialists at the Institute of Meteorology have warned that the climate
will be warmer, drier and more extreme by the end of this century. The
temperature will increase by an average of up to seven degrees
Fahrenheit and the country will suffer a 15% to 50% decrease in rainfall.

Source: Winter Comes to Cuba After a Long Hot Spell / 14ymedio, Marcelo
Hernandez – Translating Cuba -

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