Sunday, January 22, 2012

Doha Gets Cold

Bob wrote:  "It was 16.5 degrees C in the apartment this morning…The car indicated it was 11 degrees C on the way to work." That’s Celsius, of course – according to The National Weather Service in Buffalo New York, a place that knows a thing or two about weather (http://www.wbuf.noaa.gov/tempfc.htm), 16.5 degrees Celsius equals 61.7 degrees Fahrenheit; 11C is the same as 51.8F.

Not too intimidating from a Kansas City standpoint – where we’re waking up to single Fahrenheit digits and whipping, whining, biting wind (9F is -12.8C).  But if you’re accustomed to hot, muggy temps that hover over 100F (37.8C) late into the evening, you might think 50F (10C) was cold too.  And you might wear a hat, gloves and parka to stay warm, reject pools and beaches and huddle in your car instead of walking.

Still, I’m told it’s only “cold” in Doha for a couple of months, December-February(ish). And no one’s (really) complaining, because…well, once the hot begins, it stakes ground, digs in, spreads its arms wide and doesn’t let up until late fall.  We’re not talking California beach hot, either, where you can’t wait to soak up sun, cool off in the salty, refreshing waves, then sun, surf and soak some more until your skin glows Inlow Brown (a phrase that refers to the healthy, sexy-hott tan my west coast cousins boast year round).
 
good looking bunch

No, we’re talking the kind of hot (I’m told) that explains why imported palm trees must be harvested.
palms along the Corniche
The hot is why ice is hard to come by (ie, water is a premium commodity).  And it’s why locals don’t swim!  You see, this hot burns even the water, so (I'm told) there’s no relief in a Persian Gulf dip. The aggressive hot is why Bob’s gorgeous outdoor pools are so effectively sheltered that only a puddle of light eeks over the 6 foot privacy wall and filters through the umbrella like cover to find tile.
 
shaded sunbathing
 
This itsy circle of warm (not pictured) is where Katie, Kimber and I spent all our pool time last month – until we discovered the little beach where the sun shines over all the sand all the time.
 
This special brand of hot is why locals sleep (or whatever) during the day and spill into town at night - assuring the roads are always and forever traffic laden. It’s why music pours from the Pearl’s walkway restaurants at all hours of the dark and covered women and dishdasha garbed men stroll late into the evening.  It's why the Chocolate Cafe and Qatar Airways office stay open to 10pm - long after Bob’s finished his salad (he eats lunch out every day) and fallen asleep watching an NCIS video.

Perhaps 16.5C is more of a vacation than a temperature?  I’ll let you know.
 

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