I was in Dubai two weeks ago, attending a conference. For those of you who are geographically challenged, Dubai is a bright lights, big city in the desert. For those of you who are climatically challenged, September is the start of autumn for the residents of this massive outdoor sauna and the change of season means they change their description of the heat from “hof AF” to “hot as hell”. The problem is that Dubai is on the coast, so for non-residents the heat remains best described as “hot AF.” The humidity is a killer.
I almost died, every time I had to walk from the hotel lobby to the conference facility. One would think that a conference facility would be inside the hotel but no. One had to go outside and walk like 50 meters or so. And I’m not exaggerating about evading the sickle of the Grim Reaper because attending a conference in Dubai implies having to wear a suit. It seems that businessmen over there like to dress up for death.
The humidity was so severe, it took on a personality of its own. It went beyond the normal call of duty with regards to the creation of moisture on the human body. It attacked and reached most of my intimate places. The temperature of the pool is exactly the same whether you’re in or out. And could someone please warn the unsuspecting guests of the depth of the pool. It must have been 73 feet, and when I jumped in, I almost drowned and because I knew the lifeguard didn’t look anything like the cast of Baywatch, I managed to stay afloat by sheer willpower alone.
My closest call with crossing to the other side was when I reached the point of fedup-ness and thought screw this, I want a glass of wine whilst watching the Arab sun set from a different spot than my hotel room window. I ventured into the heat on route to a cozy bar just off the coast. And in the words of Julia Roberts in that scene from Pretty Woman: “Big mistake. Huge.” Humidity saw me coming, lurking in the shade, waiting patiently to strike when I would least expect it.
I took the golf cart taxi service offered by the hotel because I’m lazy and it’s free. I got to the bar, happy to have spend five minutes in moving air created by the not-so-fast-as-I-would-have-liked-it-to-be golf cart. I smiled at the bouncer who looked frighteningly cool and huge. He did signal me to sit inside but being the brutish, stubborn person I am, I scoffed at his feeble attempt of luxury and opted to sit outside. I attacked the stairs and embraced the vibe that didn’t exist at the top of the bar. And this is where humidity was waiting.
I ordered the wine which took a few seconds longer that it normally would because I was hunched over, trying to catch my breath, after taking the stairs. The bartender looked a bit freaked out, like he was serving the Joker or someone who is about to die of a heart attack. I ignored his expression because I couldn’t make out if it was admiration or serious concern.
I took my spot and smiled at the setting sun. I took a beautiful photo and sipped my Cabernet. It was good. Until it wasn’t anymore. Nineteen seconds later. When I started to sweat. And not in a sexy way. In a WTF, where does all this water come from, kind of way. Within seven minutes I looked like the victim of a ice-bucket challenge prank. Or at least I was praying for an ice-bucket challenge prank. The setting sun was relentless, fighting the last few minutes of the inevitable. It simply got too hot. I got too hot. The wine got too hot. And humidity was rolling on the floor laughing. I cursed it and left the wine and the bar and a bouncer with a condescending smirk on his face.
I swear, if I wasn’t so hot and humid, I would have punched him in his sweat-less throat.
As luck would have it, there was no golf-cart at the moment when I needed it desperately. I had to wait, for what seemed like an eternity, even if the long arm of my watch only moved twice. At long last my hero arrived.
By this time I looked like a survivor of a sunken vessel, drowning in my own bodily fluid. Dehydrated and red, which is a great look on any middle aged man by the way, I was tempted to kiss the driver. Yes ladies, don’t fight, just form a queue…
I rushed back into the hotel praying that no-one else would be in the elevator and fortunately for me, it was packed with one big family. The father’s protective instinct kicked in, as he was slowly ushering his children away from the deranged, big, wet, red freak of a human. I almost broke down my door, got naked and fell on the bed, spreading my body like a star (maybe this is too much information) underneath the best invention of the last four centuries, the AIRCONDITIONER. It deserves all my respect, hence writing it in capital letters from here on forth.
Needless to say, I didn’t leave the safety of the hotel for the rest of the evening.