Qatar: It's getting hot in here

The arrival of summer in Qatar usually means an exodus of both locals and expatriates who can afford a vacation somewhere with a more welcoming climate. As temperatures rise above 45 degrees Celsius (over 110 Fahrenheit) bloggers in Qatar are discussing how to deal with the heat (and humidity).

Jane in Doha sums up the weather with a Jane Austin quote (noting that she could have been describing a Qatar summer): “What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”

Jane has no idea how people survived in this weather before there were air-conditioners everywhere. She tries to explain what it is like to live through a Qatar summer:

  1. It's 11pm and I've just taken a shower. The sun has been down for about 5 hours now. When I turn on the cold water tap the water that comes out is uncomfortably hot. That's right – this is not water coming out of the water heater – this is water from the cold water tap. It's so hot from the sun that boiled the tanker that it stays in during the day (5 hours ago!)
  2. If I walk out of an airconditioned lobby with my sunglasses on they will immediately steam up (you won't believe it until you experience it!)
  3. If I walk from the car park to the office block I feel as if I just took a shower – I'll be drenched in perspiration.
  4. If I walk outside right now (at 11pm) it is hotter than any English summer midday I've ever experienced (even the heatwave)
  5. I have four airconditioners on in the house and I am still breaking a sweat.

She suggests taking a holiday to escape the heat. This is exactly what LotusGem and Camper's families have done. Camper blogs that he's home alone and that it's like being at university again (movies, junk food, card games and sports). He explains why his family left Qatar:

Lots of people who do not live in Qatar find the exodus of our families during summertime strange and a bit weird. You'll often get “you wife is gone for HOW long!?” as if they are trying to figure out if you are having marital problems

Of course, the reason most our families go home during these months is simple : HEAT and HUMIDITY. The current climate in Qatar is almost unbearable. It's okay since our homes, cars and offices are airconditioned. But if you're a kid, this place is a nightmare. You can't play outside for months. Now imagine being a parent of a child who is going mad being inside the house for extended periods…

So, the solution is simple. Usually our wives and kids pack off to Jordan/Egypt/UK and stay with the grandparents for a month or two. The kids love it since they are back home with family and friends. The parents gets a break and some help.

This seems like a perfect solution apart from the fact that he is already missing them!

And we get to relish in the fun of being alone…for a couple of days until we realise how much we miss our families and wish they were here!

On the practical side of things, xtian001, Caryle and Marjorie all describe how their cold water taps flow with boiling hot water. Marjorie explains

I got in the shower a little after middday yesterday (since I'd spent the morning cleaning the apartment) and turned the tap entirely to “cold.” The water that came out was almost too hot to shower in comfortably.

When I lived in the States I never thought about the fact that “cold,” in this context, really just means “the ambient temperature.” Or rather, in the States tap water is only predictably cold because it's coming into your house from underground pipes. Here in Qatar, “cold” water comes from the water tank sitting in full sunlight right outside your apartment. At this time of year, that water can in no way be described as “cold.”

Some people switch the hot and cold taps during the summer. Turning off your water heater converts your hot water tank (which is indoors, and thus air conditioned) into a reservoir of cold water. That “hot” water can then be used to cool down the actually-hot water that comes from the tap marked “cold.” It gets confusing to remember which tap is which, though.

If all of this still hasn't convincved you of how unpleasant the weather is at the moment, LotusGem decided to try a little “experiment” to provide proof:

I spent the hours between 11AM and 2:30PM under the sun, with degrees around 40-45c. In and out of the water, laying on my chair and floating on a mattress in the sea. Needless to say I was starting to feel a little heat beneath my skin, in the flesh, so I decided to spend sometime in the Jacuzzi, which now I know isn't a very good idea. Not that I was clueless before doing it, which puts “deliberate idiocy” above in context.

Towards the late afternoon, I moved under the shaded area near the pool which wasn't as bad. But I could feel the heat of the sun roasting my shoulders and legs through the holes in the canopy above. And though it wasn’t really doing that, but in my mind here is it what it all looked like: A blindingly bright laser penetrating through my skin and scorching the flesh and making “fizzzz” sounds as it moves slowly leaving a line of destroyed human flesh in its wake.

The result:

…I was so red that night that I was glowing in the dark. Literally. No Really!

I turned off the lights and I could see my body pulsating with a red glow. I was like a just-put-out match stick with that fading red glow….

Felt horrible, couldn't sleep at all that night. I applied a small cow’s worth of daily yogurt production on the “glowy” areas, tried burn creams from the Dr. and even regular deep moisturizers. But nothing seems to help; it took a few days before I could sleep with any comfort.

This all reminded him of the martial arts concept that “the best defense is not to be there”! Colt45 agrees with this sentiment and suggests we spend more time online in this ode:

Temperature soaring… work so boring,
All you loosers… get on those computers,
Stay with QL… until you hear the end of work bell

If you do have to go out, remember the sunscreen!

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