Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Australiana #10: Cooling off

When we were looking for apartments or houses to rent in Brisbane, we encountered a very unusual problem - the lack of cooling devices in rooms. Brisbane sees temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius every summer and near 100 per cent humidity. Ceiling fans and air-conditioners were not just missing but the bedrooms (the living rooms often come equipped with ACs) did not have outlets, stands or suspenders. "How do people here sleep without ACs or fans in this heat?" The real estate agent I had directed this question to opened her mouth in disbelief. "In all my years, I have never been asked this question." Once we had found a place we could make home, I checked my neighbour's house for answers. She's British (she insists, though she has lived in Australia for 40 years) and I thought she may have figured a way to keep herself cool in her bedroom. No. "I just leave the air con on and let the air drift into the bedroom." Birbal ki khichdi, Anglo-style! Someone then mentioned how Aussies are more tolerant of heat than most other people on the planet. Maybe. But we got our standing fan (the owner was against AC installation). I had given up the hope of seeing a ceiling fan in this country, when I came across this one:


And it was the largest I have ever seen, suspended from the roof of the Brisbane Central station's platform number 5, on full spin during the peak of winter where the temperature was 7 degrees!

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