I have noticed, with great resentment, that Sydney and other parts of Australia have recently experienced a near Arctic cold spell, while I have experienced the opposite in Europe.
As I write this it is 30 degrees in Paris, 38 tomorrow, and I have just come out of 34 degrees in Milan. None of this is pretty, especially me. I was not prepared for the Parisian temperatures.
I started my travels in Iceland, which I expected to be, I don’t know, freezing, and Reykjavik was 27 and sunny. I sat sweaty in the sun drinking white wine wearing a thick navy blue cable-knit sweater and white fur boots, while the rest of Iceland stripped down to shorts and t-shirts.
My new cashmere hat was abandoned in my suitcase. I couldn’t even bear to touch one of those rough but fabulous Icelandic sweaters, lopapeysathat all the best detectives wear, let alone put one over my head.
I then went to Greenland, the current “Arctic”, and I took out my down jackets, my thermal clothing, my gloves and my socks and it was 23 degrees on the snow. All I needed was sunscreen.
I’ve officially felt hot since I turned 54 and it’s not going away. I want to be cold. I sleep under ceiling fans and set the air conditioning to 17° when I’m in hotels. I chose the North Pole as my possibly temperate vacation destination. Obviously, I chose the wrong month.
A hot Paris is something else. I had packed jeans and light day coats, long-sleeved dresses and velor pants and jersey sweatpants and none of these were appropriate as sweat was pooling under my eyes. , and I went through another pack of face blotting papers. .
I looked at what all the other tourists were wearing: denim shorts, tank tops and health sandals. No matter their shape, size, or skin color, they were in meager separations oblivious to the world.
But I can’t do that. I don’t go sleeveless and I don’t wear shorts. Not since I was about 10 years old. It’s pure conceit, and something that means I always get a little too hot in most summer situations, which is very un-Australian of me.
I bought a white linen shirt to wear with my jeans, but note that long sleeve linen shirts don’t keep you cool. Maybe a short-sleeved one would, but that’s not a silhouette I’d be contemplating either.
When I arrived in the sweltering heat of Milan, I had to accept that I had nothing suitable to wear, so I found a pretty multicolored Indian cotton kaftan in a small shop in via Santa Marta, which kinda looks like Marni if you squint.
Italian women really have this bohemian look – stylish printed caftans paired with cute sandals, woven shopping bags and gorgeous sunglasses – so I took their lead.
I sometimes wonder if there was a time, and an age, when you just said, “Oh, shit!
Most people seem to be able to do this. But I can’t yet. Please turn up the air conditioning.
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