As an American living in Doha, Qatar, I am often asked by people back home about the weather here.
So, how hot is it today?
Is it still hot out?
What's the weather like right now?
Well, it is so hot that we here in Qatar couldn't help but turn our noses at Sam Dolnick's New York Times article about the state's insufferable heat wave. Complaining about 80 degree days? Our nights are hotter than 80 degrees!
Anyway, there are only so many expletives one can use to describe the sizzling, crushing, swamplike conditions we are currently enduring. For those seeking a more creative solution, here are five new ways to tell people how freakin hot it gets here in the summertime.
Qatar is so hot that...
- People flee the country in droves. The country's 4:1 male-female ratio is skewed even further during June, July & August, because if a man doesn't have enough vacation days saved up, then it's just the women and children who go. Because, you know, think of the children. The upshot here is that the snarling traffic clears up a bit, and Doha almost feels like it did three years ago, before it got too crowded.
- Even our cold water burns. In fact, people switch off their water heaters in hopes of finding some cool water to bathe with. Because the cold water tanks are on the roof, and they hit direct sunlight. And nobody wants to be boiled alive in the bathtub.
- It is illegal to go to work. For laborers, that is. These men, recruited to toil away year-round, ensnared in Qatar's insatiable building binge, must take a break between the hours of 11:30am and 3pm, the hottest parts of the day. Not all employers follow this law, and lots of guys end up suffering heatstroke or worse. And just because they're not working, doesn't mean they get a reprieve from the searing air. We often see men just standing/sitting in construction zones, waiting for their shifts to start again.
- Cars double as ovens. One woman pre-heated her car by parking it in the sun for a few hours, and then stuck in a tray of cookies. After checking back in a while, voila! Fresh car-baked goodies. Serve with coffee, or my favorite: ice-cold milk.
- The electricity company doesn't want our money. Power grids across the Gulf are feeling the strain of this year's heat wave (thanks so much, global warming), and while Qatar hasn't had to turn to other countries for help, it would like to keep it that way. Kahramaa, the country's electricity company, has plastered Doha with signs about responsible energy use.
All that said, Qatar is bidding for the 2022 World Cup, which takes place in the summer, and is definitely well-equipped to handle the heat. Air conditioning works so well here, in fact, that despite the 100+ degree temperatures, it is still possible to catch hypothermia in the shopping malls! So for those planning to catch a movie or getting some groceries, be sure to bring a sweater.
Follow Shabina S. Khatri on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dohanews