One of the questions we get often is the usual "How's the weather?"
It makes sense why we would be asked that. Russia usually is described as a cold, snowy terrain with little greenery. But the country is much more bucolic than many suppose. While Winters here are long and harsh, the Spring and Summers are just about perfect. Mostly clear skies, thunderstorms here and there, warm tempuratures, and so on.
But for the last month or so, most of Russia has been hit by a drought and heatwave. Temperatures have hovered around 90, and rain has been extremely rare. I know 90 doesn't sound so bad, but not only do we not have A/C in our apartment, but we do not have a car to get us where we need to go. We feel at times like there's no escaping the heat. And prices of fans and A/C units have now skyrocketed-- the smaller desk fans are selling for around $90!
And according to the above article, this is one of the worst droughts/heatwaves since Russia began recording the weather over 130 years ago!
Sadly the heat has been more than just a problem of comfort. In a recent AP news article, hundreds of people have drowned since the heatwave began. The basic gist of the problem is that people seek relief in the countryside during free time, and while trying to stay cool by lake-swimming they also stay pretty inebriated. The results have been over 400 drownings just since the beginning of July.
We promise we're not trying to complain or garner sympathy. It's just been a really strange and hot period. We've never drank more water. We've never scoped out where to go based on whether or not they have air conditioning (the Dunkin Donuts on Novy Arbat, I must say, has the most astounding A/C we've encountered) until now.
So far there has been no sign of relief. It looks like temperatures may slowly drop by next weekend, but until then most of Moscow will remain perpetually sweaty.