It’s one of those sweltering summer days again. When bringing the thermometer outside in the sun, I know the temperature will sure measure above 50 degrees Celsius, how much exactly is a mystery. And then…as I wrote this, the electricity in my house suddenly fails! How will I survive?
Wadi Rum in Jordan
I’m living in the desert, the Wadi Rum in Jordan. In the summer it is hot, while cold in the winter. No insulation in most houses, holes where the heat and the cold seep inside. I deliberately leave the door and some windows open to feel some wind. Many residents in the countryside have an old-fashioned air conditioner. One with a very big drum, which swings through the water at the bottom and blows cool air into the room, an AC insulated with straw on the outside. I only have a fan. To keep cool, I wet my head and clothes. Every half hour I go to the shower again with clothes, without drying, while the water coming out of the tap is burning hot. The water tanks are placed on all the houses on the roof in the hot sun.
It cools down a little in the night. That means that you adapt to the rhythm of nature. Late to go to sleep, if it is cooled down a bit in the room, Wake up late and above all make sure you get enough sleep, because the heat makes you very tired. Actually it is two, three months in the summer. Before and after, during the best months you can do a lot, being outside all day and see and experience much.
Tourists are not always well-adjusted to the heat, they want to see as much as possible in a few days. Often driven around in a car or air-conditioned bus and then step into the scorching heat. In the morning it is easy to do, until about eleven, twelve. In the afternoon, only after four p.m. the weather cools down a bit. We are already happy when there is some wind.
My advice is to cover yourself well when it is hot. Most tourists take off as much clothes as possible what actually does not help and what might not be so appropriate. The sun burns mercilessly, there is no sunscreen against it. You can carry a shawl over your head that you make wet with water. An imitation of the Bedouin, when they go into the heat. And yes, this is also worn by men! Make sure you always have an oversized shawl, for men called a “mendeel” (red and white scarf of the Bedouin) with you or buy one (they are available everywhere). Wear for your own comfort very airy (cotton) clothing that covers everything. It will help you to being protected for the burning sun radiance.
Also remember that the sand is really hot during the day and that the asphalt melts! Put on good footwear when you visit the tourist sites, because everywhere you walk on sand and asphalt. And do not forget your sunglasses, always have plenty of water with you, because drinking too little on these hot days is disastrous for your kidneys.
Jordan is a beautiful country in all seasons, but in the summer you need to get adapted to the heat. Learn from the Bedouin how to do this.
So for now just a run to the shower again, the electricity works again, to go ahead for the next half hour… I like most aspects of Jordan, but this heat is somewhat foregoing.