Sunday, June 12, 2005

Whether there is weather ...

The weather (even in the middle of winter) consists of really warm days, bordering on hot, especially if you are outside. We seem to dart from one airconditioned house/shop/car to the next - the air is humid and the poor excuse of a breeze just seems to circulate the warmth around rather than cool anything down, much like a hairdryer set on low heat, blowing in your face.

In winter, temperatures are in the low 30's and go UP at night rather than getting cooler. Our SAfrican summer clothes were all too warm for here, so we HAD to go shopping for some more appropriate clothes (good excuse, hey?) Imagine our amazement when we found that the shops were stocked to the rafters with thick leather jackets, mohair coats, woollen polonecks and kneehigh boots! Maybe 35 degree heat is cold to them - if so, I don't want to be here at the height of their summer. One taxi driver put it very well, he said : "Summer here very hot, white people all die!" What a pleasant prospect!

Hey, guess what .... it rained here the other day - rain in the desert! It didn't rain much, and it didn't rain for long, but it rained just long enough for the oil slicks to convert the roads into an ice skating rink. From our vantage point in the flat, we watched as cars skidded and whirled all over - obviously not used to driving in the "wet". Apparently, in the couple of hours following the rain, there were over 200 accidents in the city! But that is not the most bizarre aspect of this story - apparently the "rain" was created by scientists who detonated hydrogen bombs in the sky to create artificial rainfall. They also claim to have brought temperatures down below the normal highs. (Locals agree that this is true).

It is June and the current weather chart for Abu Dhabi looks like this :

Sun 41C high 0% precipitation Clear and sunny
Mon 42C high 0% precipitation Sunny skies
Tue 43C high 0% precipitation Sunny clear skies
Wed 41C high 0% precipitation Abundant sunshine
Thu 42C high 0% precipitation Sunny and clear
Frid 43C high 0% precipitation Mainly sunny
Sat 43C high 0% precipitation Sunny skies

Talk about predictability!!!
And summer is still on it's way .....

Well, we have had our winter - this year it was on Thursday 31st March - and now we are into full-blown sprummer (spring + summer rolled into one!) It was as if someone flicked a switch on that hairdryer and suddenly the temperature and humidity shot up. Of course, if we are battling now, we are going to be melted puddles by the time the "real" summer gets here. I am starting to understand why so many of the expats say they "don't do Middle Eastern summers" and head off back to cooler climes for a couple of months.

Every day we are learning new ways to describe the weather - it's hot and humid, hot and dry, hot and windy, hot and muggy, hotter, slightly less hot, sunny and hot, hot with plenty of sunshine ...... well, you get the picture - I did not know there were so many variations on the theme of HOT!

I am brushing up on my descriptions for when the actual summer hits us - judging from how the milder season of spring has been, I am including words like : burning, scorching, sizzling, boiling, blistering, sweltering, and, oh yes, my all time favourite : HOT.

The mystery of why the shops close from noon til 6pm has been solved ... It is because anyone stupid enough to venture out at the height of the heat of the day - like mad dogs, Englishmen and us - are instantly fried, seared and scorched by the death rays from the sun. People who have to be out scuttle like beetles in the Kalahari - with their toes barely even touching the ground. As DD says : "Even my sweat is sweating!"

Our airconditioner is battling on bravely, struggling to make a difference to the incoming furnace blasts of hot air. Every vent has condensation pouring from it, making unsightly rivulets down walls and puddles on the floors. And speaking of puddles on floors .... in our entrance hall, we have a rattan table with a basket of sweets and chocolates. The other day I found a small puddle of brown liquid under the table - it appears that the chocolates have been melting and dripping onto the floor ... I guess I will just have to eat the rest before they melt too ......

Do you remember that little place in SAfrica called "Hotazhell" ? Well, welcome to "Hotternhell"!!!

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