The dos and don’ts of a Dubai summer

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– Bother straightening your hair. Within an hour you’ll look like a lion with a proudly fizzy mane (“That scene from the Lion King, where Simba shakes his head as he gets out of the pool, singing hakuna matata,” says my friend B. “That’s me and POOF!

– Leave your sunglasses in the car. The rim of your Ray-Bans will burn your face.

– Wear jeans. Peeling them off will feel like shedding your own skin.

– Be surprised if you find yourself in a shopping mall… again.

– Visit friends who don’t use their air conditioning.

 – Feel guilty for staying indoors all day.

– Think taxi drivers are rude for rolling their window up really fast to stop the hot air coming in.

– Forget to wear flip-flops until the moment you get in the pool, or you’ll find yourself hopping around like a jackrabbit on steroids.


– Brace yourself for third-degree burns when touching the car steering wheel after leaving your vehicle in the sun.
*Ouch* … “Oven glove!! Where are you?”

– Get used to buildings sweating as humidity condensation drips down the windows.

– Wipe your phone screen on your T-shirt before sending a text.

– Save yourself the bother of ironing your clothes. The heat and humidity will make you wet and crinkled anyway.

– Apply sunscreen before you even open the curtains.

– Towel off the wet patches that appear on the back of your knees.

– Vow to get up an hour earlier to enjoy the cool of the morning. And then oversleep.

– Take care walking in the mist (when your sunglasses steam up after getting out the car).

– Skip blow-drying your hair. Winding the window of your car down is like turning on a hairdryer and directing it at your face.

– Turn off the hot-water tank. The sun-warmed water from the cold tap is hot enough for showers.

– Wonder why the odd person out running or cycling during the day hasn’t died.

– Open your car window when you get in – breathing in the fumes in an enclosed space filled with super-heated dashboard plastics is like doing glue from hot vinyl bottles.

– Look out for ‘staycation’ hotel deals that are so good they’re practically carrying you inside.


September’s sticky start

So the new term is underway and taking no prisoners already. After meandering our way through the summer, September always feels like turning onto a highway where all the cars are going faster, and your best chance is riding in someone else’s slipstream until you’ve gained enough speed to keep up.

Just a little bit close out there.
Just a little bit close out there.

Back-to-school nights, school runs, assignments, activities and homework are all back on the agenda – made just that little bit sweatier by the yukky climate at this time of year.

Humidity has hovered around the 75-80 per cent mark and the temperature remains in the high 30s/low 40s. I sat outside my son’s classroom last week with steamed-up sunglasses and sweat stinging my eyes. I wiped my brow, glanced at my watch (they were late out), cursing the fact the school run is at the hottest part of the day. By the time you get back to the car, you’re red in the face and panting.

Woe betide if you forget to tie long hair up – it can feel like you’re in a sauna fully dressed, with hell breathing on the back of your neck. What you also notice about the humidity is not just the fog that can blanket the city in a hazy mist, but that all the windows have massive amounts of condensation dripping down them.

On the upside, it was beautiful at 7.30am this morning. Last night, I even felt a slight breeze – a waft of air that I gasped gratefully. Not long now folks till winter! It’s coming soon to a beach, park, garden near you, and I can’t wait.