The Climate in Guadalajara: An Essay

This morning I woke up in a my little shit-hole room I like more and more everyday, turned off the white noise for colicky babies that has changed my life completely and allows me to sleep perfectly — almost perfectly — at the very least it allows me to be excited about going to sleep, because I know I won’t hear the neighbors talking, and if a dog barks — and a dog will bark, at some point in the night a dog will flip the shit out and sound like it’s trying to murder someone — it barely penetrates the fortress of white noise I’ve engineered in the form of my phone sitting equidistant between my person and the window from which the noise comes.

I lay in bed for a moment, as a I usually do, disorientated. “Where am I? Why am I in Mexico?”  I thought. Then I thought about how I should best go about seizing the day. I decided to do what I usually do: Turn on the hot water heater and lie in my bed rating Instagram Ads for Appen until the water gets hot.

Yesterday I got an email from Appen. It said, “This is to serve as a friendly reminder that you’re not allowed to work outside of your home market country.” My home market country is the United States. I am not in the United States. I am directly violating this rule, and yet I need the money and this avarice has led me to dishonesty. There is no other way to put it. I am a dishonest person. I’m a liar. I’m a conniver.

What impressed upon me as I got up to turn on the hot water heater this morning, however, was not my dishonesty with Appen, or my precarious financial state, or even that I’m finally recovering from a crippling weekend in Sayulita, or myriad issues from my personal life, but that the temperature was perfect this morning, a crisp 52 degrees Fahrenheit, but not cold because the house around me wasn’t cold, and the sun, even though it doesn’t get all the way into the patio, somehow warmed things up. It was perfect. It’s always perfect here in Guadalajara, and that’s because the climate in Guadalajara is magisterial.

Today, for example, the high is 76 degrees. Seventy-five if you’re lucky. It rained last night, which cooled everything down. When it started raining I was in La Teteria with my friend Sandi, drinking a matcha frappe and again remarking on the perfectness of the climate. It was probably in the mid 60’s. It’s rare in Guadalajara to not be able to wear a short-sleeved shirt, though from what I understand in the in the months of April and May it gets too hot. This is because summer is coming, but the rains have not yet come. In June the rains come and cool things down again.

I turned on the water heater, lighting the pilot light first and turn the knob to “heat” and holding it there a few seconds before letting it go and watching the flame flare up, fill the heater, and then die down into a compact inferno designed to heat 30 liters of water as quickly as possible. Then I traversed the patio again, the crisp air cooling my skin, and lay in bed and rated Instagram ads.

In the mornings in Guadalajara, in winter, it’s advisable to wear a sweater. I’m currently wearing a blue sweater with blue pants, violating one of the cardinal rules of fashion. Sometimes I wear a black fleece. Sometimes, when I’m teaching, I simply leave the house wearing a long-sleeve dress shirt. Either way it’s perfect. If I get too hot wearing the fleece, I simply take it off. And maybe leaving the house in just a dress shirt I’m too cold for a fraction of a second, but it’s literally a fraction of a second, as soon as I start walking it’s fine.

The best times in Guadalajara are without a doubt after a rain. The rain cleanses the city and cleanses your soul. After a rain the city smells not like an arid wasteland (though to be fair it never smells like an arid wasteland), but like a lush oasis somewhere in Southern Algeria, a place you’ve trekked many days to get to, and just when you were about to die of thirst and contemplating ripping your camel open to drink its blood, you came upon an oasis, first seeing it from afar, the date palms swaying in the breeze, and you thought, “Damn, another mirage,” but it wasn’t a mirage, because soon you heard voices, and the date palms disappeared, and then you were kneeling by a fresh fount, quenching your thirst, the cool water mixed with the blood from your dry lips. You stay in the oasis for a week, regaining your strength. You meet the leaders of the village. One day by the well you meet a beautiful girl and fall in love. You must continue with your journey, though; if you’re meant to you’ll be back.

Now I’m in Starbucks, which has its own little musty microclimate. It’s still perfect. I could sit outside, but I want to be shielded from the noise of the cars by the din of the cafe and the melodic voice of some kind of singer/songwriter that I’m sure has long hair and is obnoxious but who all the girls love. After I’m done writing this post I’ll leave, back into the world, and again the weather will be ideal. It’s easy to understand why a city like San Miguel de Allende became so popular with expats, because the climate is similar to here. The snowbirds come down every winter. Some of them have stayed. But in Guadalajara there are no snowbirds. Guadalajara’s climate is not only perfect temperature-wise, but temperament-wise also. It is the city that forgives. That city that frees. The city that cleanses.


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  • katharine says:

    Me ama Guadalajara o se amo GDL? No importa, estoy feliz para ti! Pienso que es una ciudad fabulosa; el clima, la gente, comida y es una ciudad grande en MX pero tambien me siento como es un pueblo magico tambien. Si, hay expats pero estan en Chapala, muy cerca.
    Bueno, chavo, cuidate y disfruta todo.

  • Mark Wetzler says:

    Hola Katharine,

    Gracias por tu lindo mensaje. Pues sí, GDL me gusta cada día más. Y este fin de semana espero salir a conocer Tapalpa o Chapala.

    Espero que estés bien chavita,


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