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Please don’t revoke my Australian citizenship when I say this, but there’s been a heatwave in San Francisco this week. The mercury soared to 39c in some East Bay suburbs on Sunday – and San Jose and Redwood City weren’t very far behind.

Of course, the whole of Australia is sitting back and chuckling behind their hands, like you do when your three-year-old tastes raw onion for the first time. Unless that toddler was Tony Abbott.

“Just 39 degrees?,” they chortle in disbelief.

“Mate, that’s nothing. Last summer we were out working in 48 degree heat and it was positively balmy!”


Alright cobber. Hopefully you went home to air conditioning.

I’ve been fine with the weather until Sunday when my apartment, which doesn’t have air con and faces full sun no matter what time of day it is, turned into a sauna.

Just so you know, not manyย apartmentsย in San Francisco have air conditioning installed. So when your friends, neighbours and colleagues start complaining that it’s “too damn hot” today, flick them this link and sit back and chuckle like the rest of Australia.


Head down to Wallgreens (I spent months calling it Greenwalls) or the dollar shop and buy yourself a mountain of ice packs.

I hope you have a large freezer and an abundance of shoelaces or scarves, if necessary. It’s time to get creative. Get the ice packs acquainted with your freezer for a bit (they’ll love living next to the ice cream), then strap them to yourself.

One on your skull, and the others strategically placed around your body – the back of the neck, your stomach, arms, legs, lower back, under your feet. Go the whole nine yards! Make it worth your while.


Too broke for a fan? I know it’s hot outside, but you want to find a freeway that is popular with the trucks. The b-double kind, not of the ute-persuasion.

Simply position yourself at a spot on the roadside where they’ve really had a chance to get some speed up – like at the bottom of a hill or between two exits/entries. Then face the traffic and feel the breeze as all those cars and trucks whiz past you!


Picture courtesy of the Ten Network, Australia.

As Con the Fruiterer says, it’s BEWDIFUL MAAAAATE!

Add a deck chair, a beach umbrella and a cocktail and you’ve got it made.


We’re in San Francisco, so a heatwave wouldn’t be complete without getting around starkers.

If you’re not very brave, you can always confine this to the boundaries of your own home… with the curtains drawn and the blinds well and truly shut.


But if you’re a fan of getting your togs off, maybe try it out in a park or on your way down the shops. I can’t guarantee you won’t be arrested or oogled, but it is San Francisco and I hear that’s defense enough.


If you’re like me, your place gets more than its fair share of sun. Morning sun, midday sun, afternoon sun. The latter is the absolute worst because it just sits there, slowly baking you like a rack of ribs.

So you’ll need a way to send that sun back where it came from and that’s where the tinfoil makes an appearance. You’re going to want to pay a visit to Costco, and basically buy them out of their foil supply.


Then get your duct tape out and start taping sheets of the stuff to the outside of your place, until the whole thing is covered. That sun’s met it’s match, and you’re cool as a cucumber!


Set up that cold wash cycle before work. I usually do my washing all at once at the end of the week, but I will make an exception for this heatwave-beating idea.


Now get into those damp jeans and wet t-shirt and voila, you’re instantly cool! This is even better if you’ve got a fan in the house because the air will hit the cool water and instantly refresh you!

Just look out for chaffing, OK?


If you’ve got plumbing experience or your a home handy-person you can probably rig this one up yourself. But if you’re worried about springing a leak, best call in the experts.


Rig up an indoor sprinkler system, similar to a fire dousing one, inside your home. Then connect the pipe to your kitchen or bathroom sink tap. All that’s left to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the mist.


This is for the person in your family who’s always hot. You know, when it’s like five degrees and windy as hell outside but they want a window open. Can you hear me rolling my eyes? Exactly.

Anyway, get to your nearest school or science lab for some liquid nitrogen, fill the bath and jump in. That’s -196 degrees of coolness you’re feeling there!


If you’re not that keen, you can always go the dry ice route, which will sit at around -77 degrees. ย You’re welcome.

Heatwave | beat the heat | tips to stay cool | staying cool | West Coast heatwave | too hot | summer | sunny | Aussie | Expat | Aussie Expat in US | expat life
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Special mention goes to Mr M for helping me come up with some of the more wacky suggestions in this post. So now, you get to tell us your ways to stay cool in a heatwave.ย