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Isn't Central America hot and humid? (Or the difference a hill or t...


By Raquel


do I hate the Texas heat? That’s a question I hear often from people who hear me say that I can’t stand the heat in Houston and then start laughing when they find out I was born in El Salvador (and still visit every year). And well, the truth is that yes, parts of El Salvador ARE very hot and humid, notably the coast and the eastern part of the country, the town of San Miguel is (in)famous for its heat and humidity…but that’s not where I’m from! El Salvador – all of Central America – has something Texas doesn’t, which are mountains. Small mountains or hills. In El Salvador they’re more like hills and really, most of them are volcanoes. Active volcanoes (I kid you not! San Salvador’s volcano last erupted in the 1920’s, if I remember correctly). In any case, though I was born and lived in the capital city, which is 30 minutes from the coast, the terrain rises sharply and the place my family is from is actually on the side of a hill. The Spanish Conquistadors, of course, being Spanish, settled in the valley surrounded by hills. The Pipil Indians, on the other hand, had their main town up on the hills surrounding the valley. They weren’t dumb! That’s why the old downtown part of the city is horribly hot, not to mention unstable (earthquakes are common, unfortunately). But if you live at a slightly higher elevation, the air becomes fresh and cool, you have more ventilation, and yes, you have periods of extreme heat, but they don’t last very long. Texas is as flat as a pancake so well…you do get a breeze coming in from the Gulf of Mexico, but it doesn’t cool you off…aughh! On the other hand, it does mean I could grow flowers that are also grown in El Salvador…and that’s a rare treat…my sister wants a bougainvillia, but it just doesn’t grow in the Northeast…but it does grow here! So it’s not all bad. Oh OK. Texas is growing on me.

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Really interesting to read, Raquel! Do you know the saying, "The grass always looks greener on the other side (of the fence)?"

15 Mar, 2008


I've heard that it takes two years to acclimate ones self, or at least to establish friendships and contacts and feel more 'at home'. Your emotional connection with El Salvador will always be with you, but you are right about Texas or anywhere else you may choose to will grow on you.(Just like this web site!) Bougainvillea is so pretty...and I believe it grows quickly and profusely... Hang in there Raquel. Perhaps your next blog could be about the plants from El Salvador. I'd love to read about them.

15 Mar, 2008


Reading between the lines, you're starting to discover microclimates. These cover not just a whole city but individual parts of a garden. For example, plant a tree in a sunny garden and you have shade. Plant a row of shrubs east-west and you can have a woodland border on the northern side (read southern side if you live in the southern hemisphere). Live with a plot for a few months and you discover windy corners and rain shadows and frost pockets. That's another good reason for living with a new garden for a year before considering changes - that leylandii night be there for a good reason after all!

15 Mar, 2008


I spent a year in Texas - 98% humidity and it was considered a "hardship post" for British diplomats (I wasn't one - I was doing voluntary work). I then moved down to Guatemala for more than two years and lived in the mountains. There are more than 30 volcanos in that country and it is called "land of eternal spring"

8 Apr, 2008

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