Dubai weather for the uninitiated…
Dubai weather is famous around the world. For the uninitiated, it can apparently be rather daunting.
When we said we were moving here, the first thing virtually every single person would reply was “but it’s so hot!”. And indeed, to the uninitiated, the temperatures you see on the weather channels do make Dubai appear to be an unbearable, well, desert. (ironic I know)
So… we were braced for an unlivable heat, searing sun, and regular dust storms. And whilst I can safely say we have experienced each of those things, I have to say that a majority of days have been hot, but not unbearable. I did miss the peak of summer so I’m sure I will eat these words next year, but we have found the last couple of months are really perfect for the beach, the pool and generally hanging out in large bodies of water whilst enjoying the sun.
I have, however, learned two important lessons since being here that I think it is essential to share with those un-initiated and unsuspecting new expat arrivals/visitors.
Lesson One – There should be absolutely no need to walk more than 5-10 metres outside when it is 42°C+
Dubai is a city designed to cater for searing heat. Taxis are EVERYWHERE and cheap! They also have a minimum fare, which means even if you only want to go down the street, they will still pick you up. This makes a nice change from other places where they would simply tell you to get lost if you asked to go around the corner, or equally would deny you a ride if you were going too far away.
No-one explained this to me upon my arrival.
So, one day, I had the two kiddies and we were in one of the suburbs and we needed to get to the mall across the highway. I thought that no taxi would take us there if I called them, and I also had my lovely husband drill into me the fact that “they charge a fee if you call them Emma, so you need to hail one on the street!” (sigh)
So I packed up the kiddies, and started to walk the two blocks over to the nearest big road to hail a cab. We had been walking a total of approximately 30 metres when the whingeing started… “man it’s hot mum”, “how much further”, “can I have some water”… and from the little Chubs in the pram, just a constant grumpy “waaaahhhhhhhh”.
The wailing and sooking intensified with every turn in the road as it became increasingly apparent that the main road was not ‘just two blocks away’. I checked the water supply and realised there was only a tiny bit left in our bottles. It was then that I realised that my actual toes were sweating – yes, little beads of sweat on my toes. Who gets that? So I start to panic a little and gruffly respond to the whingeing ones “c’mon kids – harden up. It’s not that far..”
Just as I’m about to start blubbing, as I’m certain my kids brains are about to melt or they will spontaneously combust, up pulls a cab. As we climb in, the cab driver looks at us with a deep sense of pity. Once everyone is settled, I look up and see the temp gauge which reads 42degC. I then catch a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror – bright red face, sweat dripping from brow, wet shirt collar and huge pools of sweat under my arms. When humid, my delightful hair also turns to complete fuzz, so all in all, a figure that needs to be pitied!! I look over at the kiddy winks and they both look exactly the same. We all sit back and breathe a big dose of aircon!
I think it’s important to mention here that the next time I was back in that area, I noticed the big sign near the exit to the building which says “Taxi number” and a description of where to tell the taxi to come. Something it would have been handy to notice a little earlier. Miss Sparky loves to tell that story to virtually everyone we meet as well – the story of the day mummy tried to kill her.
So my lesson here is that no matter how short you think the walk is, or how much the fee might be, when the temperature is that high, call a cab for goodness sake.
Lesson Two- It does actually rain in Dubai, and when it does, STAY OFF THE ROADS!!!
Today, we had a milestone event. It actually rained in Dubai.
I was sitting with little Chubs playing puzzles when all of a sudden, I looked out the window. I think I’ve been so conditioned to seeing the exact same thing when I look out the window, that I clearly don’t really bother much anymore.
To my complete amazement and excitement, I suddenly realised that there were actual rain clouds over the city. In the distance, I could even see a bit of that cloud smudge that means it’s raining nearby.
I immediately opened the door as a completely unnatural level of excitement overcame me, along with an unquenchable desire to smell the rain. Now, there was of course still the inevitable wafts of construction mixed with dirt and something that is just ‘Dubai’, but it was all infused with the definite scent of rain.
We revelled in this and Chubs danced around pointing at clouds, planes and birds whilst breathing in the freshest air we had experienced since being here, outside of the butterfly gardens. It took me a few minutes before I realised we were on a balcony that has not been cleaned since the building opened and our feet were completely black, but even this disgusting revelation could not dampen the excitement.
However, getting in the car certainly helped bring us back down to earth.
Apparently, as rain is so rare, many Dubai drivers do not understand that there is a need to adjust your driving style to suit the conditions. Traffic was appalling!
And here I am trying to maintain a safe distance from the car in front, where apparently I actually have a large neon sign on the car that says”please use this space to pack in as many cars as possible who want to merge at the last possible second”. Combine this with the fact that the roads don’t seem to have drains so there are lakes and rivers everywhere – quite scary when the 4WD in front of you has it’s full wheels completely submerged and you are driving a little sedan. And of course, where there is an open stretch of road, everyone still drives as close to the speed of sound as their powerful European engines will take them – I’m sure you get the picture and can understand why my hair is getting greyer by the day 🙂
But, even though it might not sound like it, I am not complaining one little bit. The walk to the car, with a light, misty drizzle falling on my (now completely fuzzy) hair, the cool air and even walking through the lake puddles on the road combine to make me one contented Dubai resident.
And now that I’ve had my rain fix, and the temperature has dropped to the point where I actually need a long-sleeved top, I am done with ‘weather’. Give me the clear blue skies, hot sun and ability to go out at any time of the day or night without a shawl any day.
Here comes the sun… yay!