Personal Best: Relaxing through the heat

Pat Black shares her adventures of enjoying — and avoiding — the heat and humidity of Naples, Florida

Wow, is it hot here in Naples, Florida, close to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, around 40 Celsius. Very different heat from the Okanagan, though; it is like walking into a bowl of warm soup when you go outdoors, heavy, wet air encompasses you and leaves you damp and fatigued. Finding enough energy to do the simplest things is difficult. Air conditioning is vital and almost every building and home has this cooled environment. However, labourers still work outdoors and I wonder how they survive, especially those road workers who are constructing the new #41 highway where there are clouds of dust and full sunshine all day.

Although I have been here in April many times, this is the first time the heat has been so oppressive and debilitating. It is seriously interfering with the execution of the bucket list my sister and I have compiled for this season. Even going to the ocean, a few blocks away, is problematic in this heat as there is little shade on the beaches and the usual balmy breezes are not blowing in from the Gulf this year. If you can stay in the water you are OK, but for people with mobility issues it can be difficult as the tide cuts deep shelves into the sand and entering or exiting may be risky.

However, being intrepid Canadians, and as weather-focused as all Canadians seem to be, it does not prevent us from having a great time. We sleep late, swim in the pool and schmooze with our fellow snow birds, usually about the weather and places to eat out.

Last Friday we went to Big Al’s, as recommended, and had delicious broiled lobster for dinner at a very reasonable price. Big Al’s is a sports bar and we counted 16 TVs that we could see from where we sat, most with different sporting events being shown. Needless to say we didn’t go for the ambience but the lobster was sure good.

Speaking of different dining experiences, one night, while in Toronto, we went to a Japanese restaurant and experienced a Teppanyaki style dinner. I had never heard of this kind of Japanese style cooking and was very impressed. About eight people sit in a half circle around a flat metal top grill while the top-hatted Japanese chef conducts his orchestra medley of fresh vegetables, rice, noodles, meats and fish, chosen by individual patrons from an extensive and very novel menu. Depending on the chef at your station, you may be treated to catching shrimp in your mouth which he throws at you from time-to-time, to being invited to assist in cooking a dish. Our chef was very adept at unexpectedly lighting the top of the grill on fire using alcohol. A small flame ignited the booze, followed by a loud swoosh and a sudden burst of flames climbing to the huge exhaust system over the range. It was like a circus, and the chef was the ringmaster and entertainer. He was also an excellent cook and the food was delicious.

The University of Victoria will once again be holding a free six-week health workshop series called the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. It will be held in Vernon on Wednesdays (7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) starting May 8 and running for six weeks to June 12.

This workshop is not a drop-in and registration is required. To register please call toll-free 1 866 902 3767 with your name, telephone number and postal code.

I highly recommend this program and I know it helped me a lot in dealing with my chronic arthritis problems.

If you have questions or comments you can e-mail me at