What do you call a Heatwave in the Desert?

It started last weekend. The end of May is unusually early. I wasn’t prepared. It felt like it came out of nowhere and blindsided me. At one point, I thought it was just me. After 7 years in the desert, I thought my body had given up and could no longer muster my internal cooling system into action to help me survive the remorseless rising mercury (either that or I had taken the first steps on the road to menopause and was suffering my first hot flashes!).

Eternally amazed (and envious) of DH’s ability to float comfortably through punishing temperatures (seriously, running the Marathon des Sables laden down with a 30kg backpack would be his threshold for breaking a sweat!), I didn’t bother to seek his counsel on whether he thought summer had arrived prematurely, and ploughed on sweatily as if all were well.

As I drove my newly serviced car to the go kart track, air conditioning on full power, I found that I just could not cool down. Beads of sweat bristled through every hair follicle on my head to goad my Celtic curls into an explosion of dried frizz. My make up felt as if it were sliding down my face, and my damp clothes began to resemble the creased mound of laundry after a particularly brutal spin cycle!

The arrival of summer in Dubai is often heralded by humourous photos and quotes posted on Facebook. A personal favourite is a photo of a driver using thick oven gloves to grip the steering wheel! A slight exaggeration of how hot a steering wheel can be, I used to think. Not anymore! It is very difficult to manouevre a large, heavy 4×4 with four half finger tips…..I genuinely considered purchasing asbestos padded oven gloves in a bid to avoid 3rd degree burns from my infernally hot steering wheel!

Walking to DS1’s go kart pit from the car park, the sun cruelly bounced off the black tarmac to make it feel like the temperature had ramped up another few degrees since I had left my house 7 minutes previously. However, on arrival everyone was complaining about the heat; men and women alike. ‘It’s like an oven’, ‘hairdryer in your face’, ‘opening an oven door to be blasted in the face with a hairdryer’, ‘two seasons: summer and hell’. Even DH chimed in with his two bits worth about the unusual ambient temperature. You get the picture…..I breathed a sweaty sigh of relief. It wasn’t just me. It wasn’t my imagination or the premature onset of the ‘change’. It was real. The temperatures had increased to ‘inferno’ level a lot sooner than usual.

Well, as it turns out a couple of things messed with my inner temperature monitor in the past week, to such an extent that I considered to moving to Greenland. Firstly, it transpired that my ‘newly serviced’ car’s air conditioning does not work to a fraction of its capacity……hence the melting into the leather seats feeling…….

Secondly, it would seem Dubai has been experiencing a ‘heatwave’. The highest registered temperature last week was 50.5C in Al Ain (Abu Dhabi). Even with registered sub-50 degrees in other parts of the UAE, the ‘real feel’ still hit the unbearable, tortuous temperature of 50C+.

Today, for the first time in over a week, my car’s themometer dropped to below 44C. Here’s to cooler temps next week! Roll on 39.5 degrees!

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