There is nothing my gold cannot do. That's how the song goes aye?
24.08.2014 - 28.08.2014 40 °C
I have been in conditions where your hair freezes instantly, and I have been in places where your hair instantly turns into one giant knotty birds nest instantly but this is the first time I have been somewhere where my hair dries instantly.
Dubai, is hotter than the sun. I am glad I came from 2 weeks in Greece and Italy to give me the time to attempt to acclimatise. Note the use of the word 'attempt'. I did not. I'm not sure if that's possible. The man running my desert tour yesterday said that they have 2 seasons in the UAE. Hot and hot. I don't doubt it. Apparently 'winter' still sits at about 32 degrees. Today I have been sitting on the runway waiting to take off for 3 and a half hours, with no air con, in a tin can that is meant to fly at 40 degrees. While yesterday the desert it was about 43. We went out at about 5pm and it was 37 degrees, and when we left at around 8.30 had dropped to 36. Mad. Too hot for a person that has a comfortable temperature range of about 19 +/- 3 degrees. I am the person that sits in the car and goes... Air conditioning on, air conditioning off, window open, window closed. Then repeat. Every 3-4 minutes. I'm a real pain in the ass.
Yesterday in an attempt to see the sights I made a fatal schoolboy error. I went outside. I am not the traveller that generally sits in air conditioned or heated building waiting for the perfect conditions to see the environment, I believe the weather is part of the environment, which should be experienced, good or bad. Hence previous blogs describing me attempting to snowboard in -37 degrees, standing out doing a rain dance in the middle of Hurricane Sandy and driving the Hana highway in what felt like a class 4 rapid. However I didn't take into account the oppressive nature of the sun, along with an oppressive long sleeves and a skirt below the knee I ventured out of the metro to see the sights. I felt like I was crawling along the concrete I was moving so slow. Moving from shade to shade. And I felt like I was doing a very average job at it. I was outside for about 2 hours, but it felt like a lifetime. I would pop into a shop to buy water every 20 odd minutes, retreating to the climate controlled environment for long enough that someone in the store would think I was trying to case the joint, before scuffing my feet back into the sun. The water I was consuming was pouring out of me. So I decided after about an hour that the only way to stop sweating was to be completely dehydrated. Seemed to work, but logically couldn't last for long.
I am used to London where the train stations are close together, and you can walk from point to point, here I had lost my ability to regulate my own temperature, lost my will to live and was beginning to lose my dignity as my white shirt became more and more see through. It's all well and good to conform to Muslim dress standards, but when it's sticking to you and is basically transparent I think it's bridging on pointless. I looked like an overweight middle aged man after a jog down he driveway.
Other than the mad heat, Dubai is mad in so many other ways. Muslim but super secular, much more than I was expecting. Religious, but seemingly driven by consumerism and wealth more than the Koran. The population is flush with immigrants at both ends of society, in the high rise buildings, dusting the pot plants outside those buildings (actually) and building those high rises from the desert to the sky. From what I can see there are 4 social classes. Some shop in the Gucci store, some work in it, some clean it and the others used there sweat to build it.
Like Singapore, it's outward appearance is so false you feel like you are in an elaborate version of the Truman Show, but filmed in a microwave. Until you realise people live here. Every day. And have their own quirks and routines; women only train carriages, playgrounds under the bridges - where the homeless live in London and watering the 'grass' that is actually sand, to ensure the desert doesn't take over.
Even with all of this, I really enjoyed it. It's contrived, fake and exhausting. Whilst being a juxtaposition of futurism, cultures and societal structures that is just so damned interesting to experience. Dubai is worth a stop over just to people watch, I will definitely do it again.