It’s not exactly threatening to snow, but winter is definitely on its way down here in the Southern Hemisphere and the cooler, darker nights are drawing in.
Here’s it’s called Austral winter – as opposed to the Northern Hemisphere’s Boreal winter.
Once Mother’s Day has gone by, the supermarkets in the south of Brazil start ringing in the cooler times – with pictures of hot chocolate and marshmallow and other wintry wonders, and you know it’s only a matter of time before the pinhões (pinenuts) and quentão (mulled wine) are wheeled out for the winter fair.
Winter in Brazil is a funny affair – as in vast parts of the country it doesn’t really change that much. In the north-east, it rains a bit more… that’s it.
Down in the south, like in Curitiba where I’m living at the moment, it gets noticeably colder – and the buildings are strangely in no way prepared for it. Single-glazed windows and gaps in the masonry made me think last year’s cold winter – and the nights can get down to 0°C and even minus temperatures further inland – was something special, but it’s not.
People just wrap up and wear socks in bed! Very strange, I thought… But, actually, even now in winter you can encounter high 20s Celsius, even the odd 30°C – and so in truth the houses here, as in the rest of Brazil, are built to be cool, which is a damned relief during the rest of the year.
The trade-off is that winters can really bite – so heaters and plenty of layers are needed down here!
And even further south – towards the border with Uruguay – you can find snow, for example, in the interior parts of Santa Catarina state.
But I’m off to the UK in a couple of weeks – to soak up some British sunshine(!) ahead of the Olympics – so I’ll be able to sleep without socks and that extra blanket for a while, fingers crossed.