Summer: The elephant in the room

I was out for dinner the other night with my parents and a lovely couple who’d recently moved to Dubai. They’d swapped everything they knew and loved in Surrey for a new life on the Palm, and had thrown themselves into the frenetic world of work, Middle East style.

We talked about how she’d already taken a (temporary) job that involved commuting to Abu Dhabi (I was impressed, that road isn’t for the faint hearted, even with a driver). And we talked about their daughters, embarking on adult lives on different continents.

Then, all of a sudden, there it was: the elephant at the table. Amid all the promise of beach trips, handbag shopping and desert safaris, there’s a hurdle all UAE residents face: the Dubai summer. “We won’t be able to get back to the UK until much later in the year,” she told us. “We’ll be here all summer.”

My mum looked aghast! I’m sure she visibly paled. (March is their preferred month to visit, and I do understand why.)

She's clinging on to her scarf and boots until sweat patches appear
She’s clinging on to her scarf and boots until sweat patches appear
I immediately tried to soothe things over: “It’s not too bad,” I said. “Honestly.” I attempted to explain that lots more women stay now, the city’s much quieter and working through the summer is no problem. (It’s when you have small children climbing the walls and bankrupting you every day for 10 weeks that you start throwing plates around.)

I’m posting on this subject because those of us who live here are sharing a similar sentiment this week: IT’S COMING!

We’ve entered that murky zone where you’re trying not to turn the AC on, but give in. Firms that offer AC cleaning are working round the clock, and if you pull on a pair of jeans in the morning, by lunchtime you’re peeling them off to don your summer staples of shorts and flip flops (again).

At the school gates, comments are being bandied around to the tune of “It’s warming up” and “Winter’s over”. Unless you’re particularly stubborn or sweat-proof, the scarves and wraps have been put away, boots consigned to the back of the cupboard.

Give it a few more weeks of rising temperatures and we’ll all be asking each other: “So, when are you leaving?”

10 thoughts on “Summer: The elephant in the room

  1. Oh, this sounds so much like Phoenix! We moved there in July, from the E. Coast, where we left a warm, green 26 deg and stepped out of the car into dry, desert 45 deg C. We were stunned. I had two small boys who had no one to play with – no children could be seen outside. If they hadn’t been packed up and sent Back East to Grandma’s, they were all either in their backyard pools or playing somewhere air-conditioned – so difficult to meet new people when they’re all gone or hibernating – and probably 10x worse in a foreign country.

  2. It has been a lovely, long “winter” in Dubai. I put that in quotes because it’s not a true winter like many of us are used to experiencing. 😉

    We usually stay at least all or part of the summer here and I agree that it’s not that bad. The traffic is much lighter and the queues at, well anywhere, are so much shorter.

    It’s a time to experience Dubai without too much rushing. 😀

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