Would Davis be a good retirement place for a couple from the Midwest?

Mediterranean Tuscan living room

Having had immediate neighbors move from Cleveland to Davis, my wife and I experienced a two year Davis-transition replete with ups and downs.

,The Up Potential:n,Thumbing their noses at their Ohio friends on the first 70 degree January day.

,Two hours to Lake Tahoes majesty, two hours to SF and civilization.

With emerging barberas and zinfandels wine country isnt just a Napa and Sonoma short trek.

,A population with the education and experience that makes the world a smaller place.

The How was your week? mailbox topics can easily include diving beneath the Antarctic ice, Australian organic vintners, health care lobbying, Ironman training, and tiger surgery.

,Theres a symbiotic vibe between the university and community.

Unlike its coastal college cousin San Luis Obispo whos abrasive relationship with my alma mater is palpable, U.


Davis tendrils reach residents: Arboretum volunteers scour the landscape like its their own Versailles, the Mondavi Performing Arts Center page force is a community woven tapestry, and annual city-wide block parties touch the most ardent introverts.

n,Due to an exceptional public school system that propels its body into competitive post-secondary institutions the associated Adult School has an adjusted role: Reaching out to ESL learners in surrounding communities and honing pensioners language skills for their Tuscan and Loire Valley sojourns.

,Parks with youth soccer, adult masters swim programs, and dog walkers pepper the community.

,In the absolute seat of Californias agricultural valley that can feed the nation, nearly every great product is available, freshness is near mediterranean, and almost any idiot can grow a perfect tomato.

,Despite being planning stunted and architecturally up-to-date as shag carpet, Davis residents coalesce in their downtown u2013 greeting one another over coffee, kibitzing in bike stores like its their living room, and socializing at the noteworthy Farmers Market under the guise of vegetable shopping.

If your sense of social style requires visual reinforcement then Amtrak and a short shuttle will get you to SFs Sheraton Palace in short order.

n,Cycling is infectious.

Whether you ride a 45 pound beach cruiser, a chic euro wicker basket toting type, a hipster fixie, a rusted beater, or a deftly fitted all-carbon, ceramic, aero frame - the bike trails woven into the cityscape and the rural county roads inevitably beckon you to pedal.

,nPossible Davis Downside:n,There are about seven Republicans in the entire town and though tolerance and diversity are perennially proselytized, that age old human social condition prevails - just enough of us, way too much of you.

,Compared to much of the country and surrounding 75 miles - housing prices are very high, but unlike communities that mirror Daviss socioeconomic profile, neighborhoods where homes are manicured and cars shine, some Davis residents grow weeds like its a cash crop.

,As the second town in the country after San Luis Obispo to outlaw smoking, smokers are almost pariahs.

It exists, but out of town city friends that smoke feel noticeably awkward.

,Davis residents talk a small-car game and might even have a hybrid, full electric, or fuel cell car in their stable, but the Lexus SUVs and new Subaru Wagons are always somehow squeezed into parking marked compact.

,Cost of living, professional goals, and DINK gravity results in entire city blocks that are kidless and your candy bowl at Halloween may not need be bigger than the one you use for breakfast cereal.

,Downtown Davis business turnover can be faster than speed dating.

With commercial rents cripplingly high, a city that grips new service ingress, and the gross majority of commercial property owned by a few individuals its a small miracle theres more to buy than used dentures.

Businesses whove survived more than five years in Downtown Davis are the tortoises of their breed - thick shelled, long lived, and with a handful of exceptions - lackluster to everyone but those sheltered from strip malls.

n,Inevitably there is a 5-15 mph S-SW wind every evening.

Winters though mild can be damp and bone chilling like a duck blind, and residents are required to endure a two week spring followed by 90-110 degree summers.

,Though day-trip close, Northern California beaches are not the stuff of scantily clad television and movie depiction.

(Those are 400 miles south you see).

Going to the beach? Bring a jacket and at least stay warm while you admire the 48 degree water churning through the rocks and seaweed.

,If there is an inverse to the Manhattan cab drivers compulsion for commuting quickly and with purpose - then Davis is it.

Residents (including myself at times) drive as if they are sleep deprived, extremely high, or both.

Scarcely any Davis destination exceeds 5 nautical miles, yet somehow residents must budget 45 minutes to cross town traversing what is tantamount to an automotive slug race.

n,nDavis is distinctly separate from - well, most communities (hence the irreverent monicker Peoples Republic of Davis).

Though very close to the State Capital and though it boards many of Sacramentos lobbyists, attorneys, and State professionals the city scarcely gives its more metropolitan neighbor a nod.

Exempli gratia: I have run into fellow Davisites getting jeans tailored in San Francisco, doing commercial hair/make up in New York City, and even pursuing books in the British Museum more than I have run into friends at coffee in nearby Sacramento.

,Is Davis for you? Are you slightly over-educated and brimming with life experience that others find - odd? Does your cat or dog have a cardiologist? Ever dreamed of slacking off on yard care (or abandoning it altogether)? Are you a professional with surplus means to run, bike, and swim obsessively? Do your Italian road bike tires cost more than your cars Michelins? ,Well pack up your recycling containers, toss that gas-powered string trimmer, wave goodbye to those hordes of school age children, and tell your retired racing dachshund hes getting dialysis, because youre moving to Davis, California.

,As much as I love to speak at my towns expense, each spring the blooming jasmine perfumes every other block and every fall new university students arrive with a clean slate and infuse our population with a sense of youth and possibility.

There are far worse choices you could make other than relocating your parents to the Peoples Republic.

Pictures of Mediterranean style living rooms

Intense heat comes in two flavours: dry and humid.

I have experienced both during my childhood and early adult years in India and these are my observations.

,Dealing with intense heat has never been a u201cone silver bulletu201d type thing but an entire ecosystem of thinking and practice.

I referred to some practices in this old answer while discussing what I call u201ctropical sensibilityu201d.

,BuildingsHomes made of concrete take a long time to heat up and to cool down.

The way the older ones were built however made it easier to be in them while it was very hot.

The ceilings were tall and the Windows oriented to catch breeze.

In very old homes, built before electricity, there would be large cloth u201cfansu201d, with large ropes attached to them which either people or their domestic staff took time to rock in a motion similar to how a large church bell is rung.

This works on dry and on humid days.

,Houses with flat roofs would be cooled down by throwing a lot of water on the roof terrace after sun down.

It evaporated quickly but made the rooms more bearable.

It was not uncommon for people to sleep on roof terraces in the open, with mats and thin mattresses laid out on floors or on cots.

It can get cool after midnight and sometimes early mornings can be positively chilly.

,Homes built for heat sensitivity oriented their windows to catch the breeze.

There were slatted shutters on the outside to avoid direct sun while the inner shutters on the windows were left open.

These can still be seen in use in the warm regions of Mediterranean Europe.

Of course this is good on humid days too.

,In his answer, Archie Du2019Cruz mentions wind towers.

Hawa Mahal - literally the wind palace - in Jaipur serves the same purpose.

Further in cultures, where women stay indoors or dont go out unescorted the jaali served a dual purpose that they could look outside but the world couldnt see them.

The jaali was an integral element of Islamic and Mughal architecture and can be seen in buildings such as the Taj Mahal in India, buildings in Kerala and more humid parts of India, and others in Alhambra and similar warm, dry regions where the architectural style made an impact.

The jaali worked to lower the temperature by compressing the air through the holes, also increasing its speed thus diffusing it better for a cool effect.

The image shows a jaali from the mausoleum of Salim Chishti in India.

,There were other ways too.

Including using curtains made of verbena twigs periodically wetted which then served up a fragrant coolness as they dried slowly in the hot dry summer breeze.

I grew up with an artfully engineered solution involving these designed by my father.

The patent Archie mentions in his answer sounds remarkably like the piping structure he designed.

I do not have a picture but the u201ccurtainu201d was made by stuffing verbena twigs inside a frame made of thick bamboo sticks and chicken wire, and it was massive, covering one entire side of the verandah in our house.

It did not need electricity and could be wetted by throwing water at it with mugs, but a mechanism to speed up the wetting was there using a small water pump.

Elsewhere on Quora I have written how I learnt at age 6 how a water pump worked.

This was the water pump I was referring to.

,Most importantly, people didnu2019t stay cooped up in houses as they do now with air conditioning, but came out for strolls or neighbourly chats.

This is an excerpt from Bruce Springsteenu2019s autobiography Born To Run where he is describing the New Jersey street where he grew up.

,Food and drinkPeople in hot regions drink a lot of fluids, and since water alone could be boring, and alcohol not culturally prevalent, interesting drinks have been invented.

Before detailing this I should add that in Indian thinking, foods are deemed to have a warm or a cold effect - taaseer - which affects how we combine things and how we consume them.

Mangoes are a u201cwarmu201d food and always served cold.

Melons are deemed naturally u201ccoolu201d and are served at room temperature.

Yoghurt is deemed u201ccoolu201d, and finds its way into sweet or salty lassi as well as a thinner drink called chhaachh.

Drinking lemonade with mint leaves crushed into it for freshness is common too.

,People traditionally ate seasonally.

So in the northern hemisphere, we wouldnu2019t be eating cauliflower, a u201cwarmu201d food which causes wind, in the summer, nor watery vegetables such as cucumber, water gourd etc in the winter.

Rich foods are avoided in the heat as are foods easily spoilt such as milk based sweets.

,Few festivals fall in the extreme heat of summer so nobody feels deprived.

,ClothingAdventurer Ranulph Fiennes says there is no such thing as bad weather, only wrong clothing.

It holds true in excessive heat as well.

,People in warm countries wear loose fitting and flowing clothes in cotton and linen, which have excellent capillarity for wicking away sweat and keeping the wearers cool.

,Colours matter too.

I have been living away from India very very long now so when one summer I was visiting and had no suitable clothes, a friend took me shopping.

I kept gravitating to blues and greens and she said to me, u201cTrust me you will want to wear white!u201d,And boy, was she right!,How life is configuredOn my very first trip to Spain, which came after years living in the UK, where I eat dinner at 6pm, I was in for a shock.

Nowhere was dinner served before 10pm.

I was complaining to my father about it later, when he reminded me that when I was a kid, we often ate dinner alongside the 9pm news on All India Radio, a fact that I had forgotten.

,People eat dinner late, they may start their day late, they may go slow in the day time (traditional pizzerias in Rome are closed between 1u20135pm even now).

Life is generally adjusted to suit the needs of human beings suffering the heat.

,It is not impossible to return to a simpler living.

It does however require that we rethink the structure of our entire life, and make suitable changes.

,Thanks for u201carm twistingu201d me into writing an answer, Archie.