keeping cool

Five items I reach for again and again to endure Dili’s hot, humid days.

Claw clip

Those late-90s hinged hairclips that are so popular right now are so useful on a hot Dili day. I find keeping my hair off my neck the number one best way of avoiding overheating, but I don’t like tying it back with an elastic band — I don’t like how elastics kink out my hair, and I like the ease of putting my hair up, down, or halfway in between with just one quick clip.

Hanky or tissues

So much of managing my response to the weather in Dili has been shedding any embarrassment about sweating visibly. It’s inevitable, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s fine — and gently blotting your face with a hanky or travel-pack tissue helps you feel more normal and less self-conscious on a humid, sweaty day.

Handheld fan

An MVP if you are overheating — get one of those collapsible handheld fans and gently fan yourself. The breeze cools down your sweat, and gives relief against stiff, stuffy air. A must-have at church or a formal function, and a lifesaver on a dancefloor (particularly if it complements your outfit and looks like a deliberate sartorial decision). Use a piece of A5 card or a folded sheet of paper in a pinch.

Natural, spray deodorant

I do not use this in my armpits. I do not use this as regular deodorant. No offence to the manufacturer Sukin, but this deodorant I carried over to Dili is no match for its humidity. Instead, I use this as you would a room spray, for my body — to freshen things up in the mid-afternoon when it’s hot and I’m tired and I’m beginning to feel funky. I carry it around in my tote and spritz myself generally a couple of times a day to feel fresh and unembarrassed.

Soda water in the fridge

If there is a god she is a cold can of soda water you forgot you had in the fridge after arriving home in the oppressive wet-season midday. It’s nice to buy a cold, soothing soda from the supermarket, yes, but it’s even better to have one that’s been chilling for 24 hours in a fridge that hasn’t been opened all day — that you can open on your couch, in comfort, as you wait for the rain to come in.

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