In the Summertime

Now that the temperatures are becoming more reasonable, it’s sparked me to reflect and share some thoughts on Dubai’s infamous Summer.

When you first arrive here everybody warns you about what Summer will bring. Some times when you meet someone it’s their opening sentence. I received so many warnings last year I was really quite concerned. Thankfully we had one of the mildest Summers on record. In fact, during the week I arrived it snowed in Ras Al Khaimah. Ordinarily it’s much hotter though.
During Dubai’s Summer months there is always a massive outflux of expats. Even many of the locals tend to holiday outside of the UAE during this time. Each year the summer period more or less lines up with Ramadan, so if people aren’t celebrating the holy month with Hajj, it’s safe to say they’re searching out more friendly climates than Dubai.

I should quantify this, the average minimum temperature during the hottest month of August is more than 30 degrees. All in all, it means that work is always terribly quiet. Although some people do strategically stay to get a lot of quiet work done through with fewer distractions around.

Despite the heat of the day reaching maybe 40-45 degrees, you still see people playing cricket on the weekends. Cricket must be an Indian’s most popular activity next to breathing. They generally don’t play during the hottest part of the day. However the timing doesn’t make much of a difference. Some nights the temperature does not fall below 38 degrees. I trained for the Berlin Marathon during our Summer period where I’d leave my run as late into the night as possible, but it was still tough.

The parks around the city are totally abandoned. In fact, I think it’s free entry during these months as there is no one to pay fees anyway. Water parks are popular places, but to be honest the Dubai summer is often too hot even for this – as you find yourself more often out of the water than in it. It’s certainly too hot to enjoy the beach – unless you’re like me and enjoy a really, really warm bath and don’t mind the salt. The doctors at our clinic warned us to avoid the beach in summer anyway. Apparently the bacteria love the warmer waters, and in the heat there’s nothing really to stop them. The place that is most busy from July through to September are the very air conditioned malls. We did go there a few times, however it’s one activity none of us really enjoy. Especially when there’s no real purpose except avoiding the heat.

We made the mistake of taking our kids to Modhesh World. It’s a temporary amusement park focused around Modhesh – a kid’s character who is based on the Sun whose names translates into amazing in Arabic. While my kids, and a friend of theirs, all had fun, it was terribly expensive considering it was just a few amusement rides, games and some pretty depressed farm animals. Much like any other exhibition I guess. In fact we likened the place to our own Ekka in Brisbane, except the all the “carnies” have Blackberrys! It’s a true sign of the wealth of the region. Another distinction with our Ekka is here is probably be 3-4 times more expensive. I was one of the people in Australia who’d complain about the rising costs of going to such places. Not any more.