The down side to glorious nights

Here’s the thing about the Algarve in summer: days tend to swelter, but once the sun goes down, it usually cools off and we end up with wonderful nights. (“Cool” being a relative term, of course — we’re still sleeping under nothing but a sheet.) Thus everyone tends to hibernate during the afternoon, and come out at night. Cafés stay open late, people sit outside with beers and munchies until all hours, and the rugby and football teams don’t even start their play until 21:00. Here in our complex, the café’s outdoor seating is packed with people and their very noisy children until midnight, making it impossible to even think about sleeping before then.

We love the cool nights. We hate the noise. But right now, even the noisy kids aren’t the worst. That honor goes to the summer music festival.

It happens on several weekends each summer: various musical groups playing with enthusiastic amplification, in all sorts of genres. We’ve heard everything from folk music to death metal, and we’ve heard it loudly. Closing all of our windows doesn’t really help, and we don’t want to anyway — we need that nighttime breeze to cool down our flat in preparation for the next day’s heat. So we’re stuck with the windows open and the music penetrating every corner…

…until 03:00.

The Portuguese love their cool night air in the summer, and they take full advantage of it. (In Lisboa, there are dance clubs that don’t even get going until 01:00 or 02:00.) And if the music on offer were something along the lines of, say, classical or jazz or even electronica, I’d be sitting out on the veranda enjoying it. But as I type this, we’re being subjected to some cheesy pop with a lot of accordion, and all I can think is that we’ve got another four hours of it.

Time for a drink.


About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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6 Responses to The down side to glorious nights

  1. João Brandão says:

    Submit to the cheese! You now truly live in Portugal :p

  2. “Swelter” must be relative term, too. I’ve looked up your weather, and it rarely gets above 90F in your town all summer long. Which, in my town, is downright temperate. 😉 I mean, 81F at 3 in the afternoon is hardly hot. Really?

    • MJ Valente says:

      You must have seen the meteogram for the official weather station around here, which is located in Faro Airport, less than 500m from the sea. Usually it’s much cooler there.

      In Loulé, located in the interior and known as the “bucket” of Algarve (meaning extra heat and extra rain), the highest temperatures during the summertime go from 27º to 41ºC. For the next 10 days the forecast mentions 33-35-37-36-34-33-29-30-29-28. So, from 82º to 99ºF. (→ Meteorological Institute of Portugal; forecast, not actual measurements — which, by my experience, tend to be higher… alas)

      However, the worst thing is that during the hottest days the highest temperatures tend be reached around 11am and last until sunset. Not so pleasant.

      I really wish that all summer days were around 28-30ºC (82-86ºF)… That would be the summer of my dreams.

      • oregon expat says:

        To this I would add that even the “real” local temperatures of Loulé (as opposed to the weather station in Faro) aren’t accurate because they’re not recorded down in the streets, where most of us experience the heat. The ubiquitous white or light paints coating all buildings, combined with the light stones making up the sidewalks, means that every surface around you is not absorbing heat — it’s reflecting it. The building interiors stay cooler, but their immediate exteriors are hotter.

        You can also add the fact that central cooling (or heating) is virtually unknown in Portugal, except in the very wealthy housing. Which means most of us do not deal with the heat by staying inside, closing our doors, and cranking up the AC. We have to live with it.

  3. xenatuba says:

    I love how y’all adapt to the weather. It sounds a lot like folks in Arizona (another place with dry heat) only I notice that the AZ folks often route their days to the early end of the day. Different cultural bent, I suspect. I think I like Portugal’s way of adapting just a bit better. Here’s to more outdoor concerts that feature music you enjoy!

    • MJ Valente says:

      And you should see how things work in the Spanish Meseta, where the temperatures are SO high during the summer that “la siesta” had to be invented. Nowadays all stores close from 12:00 to 16:00. 🙂

      No wonder they dine around 22:00 and go to bed at 02:00. (Heck… we are doing pretty much the same thing now in Loulé.)

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