Surviving the deadly Andalusian heatwave

Published:  13 Aug at 6 PM
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Tagged: Spain, Travel Abroad
As the scorching temperatures continue across Spain, what can expats and tourists do to survive the experience?

It may well be the hottest ever summer along Andalusia’s Costa del Sol coastline, but travelling to its interior isn’t recommended as an escape. The little town of Ecija is famous for just one thing – it’s called the ‘frying pan of Spain’ as it gets so hot residents can fry eggs on the pavements. The quirky little town is just an hour by car from Seville and is famous for its geographic location which regularly gives it the hottest days on record. Locals, however, know exactly how to cope with the appalling heat and are happy to advise expats and tourists on the best ways to stay cooler during this most unusual summer.

According to one street vendor who referred to himself as a ‘shade-chaser’, not one single resident goes outside between the hours of 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest. He drinks seven or so litres of water every single day, always wears long-sleeved shirts and moves to the shade every chance he gets. He doesn’t start work until after 6 pm and showers at least three or four times every single day.

Another resident, Maria Copas, says he’s got it wrong as regards the amount of water he drinks, as using sugary drinks is a far better strategy for avoiding dehydration in extreme heat. She works as a carer at a nursing home, and regularly gives out warnings to the elderly about the need for sugary drinks. Her friend Paqui Fedal told the media olive pickers are forced to stop work and go home during extreme heat, with those crazy enough to stay on often throwing up due to severe sunstroke.

A female bar owner with premises on the main square advises the only way to deal with the present temperatures is air conditioning plus the traditional two-hour siesta during the hottest part of the day. It’s the only way if life known to locals in this town, says the bar’s only waitress, who prefers extreme heat to being cold. After getting the town’s tips for expats worried about coping with the heat, one reporter attempted to fry an egg on the pavement without realising it was 6 p.m and getting cooler. The result was inedible!
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