Indeed, I am reminded that when I left
... such did I write on July 14th, 2006.
Friends, take aim.
It's hot. Stinking hot. So hot that I am on the very cusp of breaking a 5-year self-imposed vow of non-complaint. Yes, I know that most of you are thinking that my ability to not complain
I can't stand it any more.
It's hot. Stinking hot. So hot - daily temperatures have now hit and surpassed 50°C - that I have had to struggle with what heat really means. In terms of my tiny family of two bipedals and one quadruped, heat means that ...
1) Everything that shouldn't be hot, is. Not as obvious as one might think. Toothpaste is hot; liquid soap is hot; shampoo is hot; my hair goop is liquid; my moisturizer is too hot to put on my face. The toilet seat burns. Ice no longer cools down drinks. Tap handles are hot, and since our water comes from a tank on our rooftop, the cold water is hot. We are now taking 'cold' water-only showers, but they are so hot that we are sweating during our ablutions. The towels are hot. Clothes in our closets and drawers come out hot. I am hot. Mr. This Cat's (Not) Abroad is hot. The dog is very hot.
2) Everything that should be hot, is. A bit of a no-brainer, but I was striving for symmetry in this post. The sun is hot; the pavement is hot; tempers are hot. I imagine that the black-sheathed cocooned women in their abayas/niqābs/burqas are hotter than usual. I swoon just looking at them. We can no longer drink coffee (should be hot) as it's too hot. After we discovered pots of barely-touched coffee left at the end of three consecutive breakfasts, we made the unprecedented decision to bail on our brewed Brazilian Dark and switch to Greek-style cold frappés.
3) Everything that should work, doesn't. Since just about everyone and his dog - well since this is Erbil, let's make that everyone and his crimson-winged finch - has that Energy Vampire known as the split air conditioner (the wall mounted thingy) running every goddamn minute of the day, the power is continually going out (for minutes or hours at a stretch), rendering Our One Floor Fan - and every other electrical appliance - completely useless. Having said that, it's too hot to use Our One Floor Fan now as the air flow it generates is unbearably hot. Fun fun fun.
End of Lengthy Preamble.
So, what are our coping mechanisms? you ask. Well, we're thinking of putting a bar fridge in the bathroom to keep toiletries & cosmetics cold. We've also upped our intake of liquids to about 137 litres of anything a day (= 3 trips to the bathroom/24 hours). But because the whole concept of chilling drinks in this heat has been a big disappointment (the ice melts too quickly and we keep losing electricity which makes the actual freezing process a tad challenging), we have discovered that local shops carry German Weißbier. Yup, a German wheat beer sure helps to take the sting out of 50°+ temperatures. Too bad a bottle only stays cold for about 3 1/2 minutes.
Peachy, but what about Swamp Thing? you cry.
Unable to afford a real air conditioner, Mr. This Cat and I have gone native and introduced Swamp Thing - what our American friends call a swamp cooler - into our home. Our Swamp Thing came direct from Iran, which means that a) there were no instructions in English, and b) our American friends will be prohibited from bringing it back to the States with them. Or so say the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Whatever. If people have a budget for moving, I say bring everything with you.
As I had never heard of a
Anyhoo, starting at about $100 (price being determined by ethnicity of purchaser and temperature outside), this straw-stuffed box will emit cool blasts of air when a) filled with water from the top, and b) turned on. Working on the principle of evaporation, one motor pumps water into wads of
I haven't noticed a 30% decrease in temperature, but I will own up to it being cooler and it has allowed us to get a better night's sleep. The fly in the ointment is the bit about "
I asked my students recently what the Dog Days of summer are like in Iraq. They had no clue what I was talking about, and when I explained it as much as my metereologically-challenged brain could do, they told me they don't suffer under the igneous influence of that fiery Dog Star. Which tells me that they had no clue what I was talking about. Or that they probably aren't able to register the difference in temperature because it's already so freaking hot.
There! I think I got it out of my system. No more complaining about the heat. Boy oh boy, I can't wait for summer.