Friday, January 10, 2014

Hot and Hotter: Doha Weather

Bob sweats in out at the dunes
June, 2012
First, it's true what "they" say about Doha July and August.  The sun rises at 4am and is fireball hot by 9am.  Heat and humidity mingle to waterfall down the sides of buildings and puddle into a moat outside doors and windows.  Skin bubbles with wet as you step outside and freezes into dandruffy crystals when you reenter.  The sea doesn't boil - not exactly - but a dip in the simmering Gulf doesn't offer relief from the crushing, microwave-like, skin, hair and eyebrow burning sun.
The hottest day I've experienced is 129F, with humidity.  I went for a run; crawled back.
There is a plus: many locals and others leave the city in July and August, so historically there's very little traffic.
In March and April, the wind picks up.  Sand blows in horizontal lines across the horizon, obscuring the sun, hiding buildings and the bay outside my window.  Gritty stuff creeps under windows and doors, coats patios and living room coffee tables.  Sand drifts in great blizzardy mounds across the road and everyone - everyone - covers faces.
patio sand writing: awwww!
In May and June the sun takes first steps toward its great, grand summer crescendo.  These brilliant-skied months feel like California, USA beach and pool season - but the danger is deceptive.  Burning rays will baste basking skin.  Wear sunscreen.  Lots of sunscreen.
Predictably unpredictable, hot, sandy, sweaty, dangerous.  Until…one day in September you notice your clothes aren't as wet as you walk across the parking lot to your car.  The air conditioning doesn't seem as arctic.  There are trucks full of rich, black, life producing earth rumbling toward roadway medians.  Men with shovels dig flower beds outside government offices.  Branches covered in rose hued blooms cascade over walls.  And there are…people.  Walking the Corniche at 11am, feeding the ducks in Aspire Park at all hours.  There are families about on Friday, children on the Ramallah Park swings, evening activities in Heritage Park, women strolling the boardwalk under my window late into the night.
It's Winter in Doha.
a family picnics at the Corniche, November 2012
Doha winter is payback for July and August, compensation for March and April, a daydream wish on a sweaty June day.  It's the longest running, most beloved Doha season, spanning September-ish into March-ish.  Doha winter is a blue skied, floral filled wonder.  It's Christmas and Easter, first and second Eid and a family wedding rolled into one great, grand celebration worthy offering.
There is beach sun from 11am-2pm.  The sea is cool and refreshing.  There are flowers in pots and along the sides of the road.  The daytime sun is warm and inviting.  It's jogging, sweater, let's go dune-bashing/camping at the Inland Sea weather.
And sometimes, when the people have been very good - like this year - there's…RAIN.  Which means: TRUFFLES.
"…Every year, if there is sufficient rain early in the winter season, truffles form just under the sandy or rocky desert surface, and searching for them is a local family pastime…"
Of course, warm, like cold, wealth and what constitutes an acceptable serving of Blue Bunny Chunky Chocolate Chip ice cream - is relative.  If you're accustomed to thermometer readings that zoom toward 129F, temperatures in the 60s and 70s (Fahrenheit) may feel like winter coat, hat and glove season.
too busy enjoying the beautiful Doha winter to take pics of guys in coats
here's a racing camel instead
But if you've been parked in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, where winter means negative double digit cold (without considering wind chill!) plus snow and ice and an endless season of no-sun, chubby-making indoor activities…temperatures in the 60s, 70s - or even 40s and 50s (Fahrenheit) - under a clear, slate blue sky - or rain!...feels like a vacation.
pretty Doha winter day

Looking forward to playing outside again!


Charles W. Hedrick said...

While the heat is not as bad, many of the things you mention are true of Egypt as well.

Lucinda H. Kennaley said...

Yes, and this year, at least - SNOW! - in Egypt. I'm doubting that's going to happen in Qatar anytime soon. :) Thanks for commenting!