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In the South of Spain, residents use age-old wisdom to deal with extreme heat

MIGUEL MACIAS, BYLINE: And this is Miguel Macias in Sevilla, Spain. There is a very simple tip everyone who lives in the south of Spain knows - in the summer, no matter what you do, stay out of the sun. It sounds easy, almost too obvious. But locals know how dangerous summer heat can be. Last year, more than 11,000 people died in Spain as a consequence of the heat.

The sounds of cicadas, or chicharras, as they're known in Sevilla, is synonymous with summer in this Spanish southern city. And these days, this sound is in full swing. You'll hear them at parks, avenues with big trees and just about everywhere. But in the hours of the day when the heat is most intense, picture empty parks and avenues. People mostly stay inside.

In Spain, the summer has kicked off with consecutive heat waves. The first one in June caused the death of two agricultural workers who died from heatstroke. But despite the alarming impact of high temperatures, big tourist towns like Sevilla stay open for business.

IVAN JIMENEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

MACIAS: That's Ivan Jimenez, a local worker who drives a traditional horse carriage very popular with tourists. He's been doing this for 25 years. Ivan tells us that this feels like nothing new to him. Summer in Sevilla is going to mean temperatures over 110 degrees. He's used to it. Locals may be used to it, but for tourists, those brave enough to visit in the summer, it can be hard to grasp how brutal the heat can be until you get here.

JEANINE LAMPKIN: We were surprised. I didn't know what to expect.

MACIAS: Greg and Jeanine Lampkin, originally from the Bahamas, are visiting from Portugal in the middle of a heatwave.

J LAMPKIN: I didn't really know how hot it was here, but it's not keeping us from...


J LAMPKIN: ...Doing anything.



J LAMPKIN: This is lovely.

G LAMPKIN: It's not lovely. It's hot.


G LAMPKIN: You know, it's like they say in Arizona, it's a dry heat. It's still bloody hot, but we can deal with it, you know?

MACIAS: And that's how most in southern Spain get through the summer. They just try to deal with it as best as they can.


That was reporter Miguel Macias. We also heard from Bryce Dix and Madison Aument. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Miguel Macias is a Senior Producer at All Things Considered, where he is proud to work with a top-notch team to shape the content of the daily show.