21st May 2012
The summertime is officially here in Qatar and the temperature is steadily increasing. Guess it will be no surprise that it gets hot here and it stays hot for most of the summer. The good thing about it (at least compared to my home climes) is that the UV is much lower than it is at home. Here you can be exposed to the sun for a lot longer before you start to burn and if you “slip slop slap” (slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat for the uninformed) you are good for some time outside. Not like Melbourne where you burn in minutes.
The challenge here is the unremitting heat. Whereas in Melbourne you might get a week of temperatures in the 40’s, here you will have months, and of course this means that it never cools off much. It can be 30 degrees outside at midnight and that is not comfortable.
Inside though the house is a gentle 24 degrees and its very easy to just crank it up if I want it cooler. I notice that it can be very artificial living in air conditioning and, sadly, many expats in Qatar don’t get out and enjoy the heat, preferring instead to cloister themselves in air conditioned comfort and scurry between the car and house, work and shops. Reality is that, while it is hot, if you are not constantly exposing your body to fluctuations in temperature it is tolerable, at least for moderate lengths of time.
On Friday, I went out with some friends to do some fishing, from our boat.
The plan was that we would meet at 6am and be on the water soon afterward. Due to an alarm clock mishap this did not happen and it wasn’t until 7:30 that we actually got down to the boat ramp.
The boat ramp is an interesting experience, early (ish) in the morning there are always ten to twenty guys (generally laborers from the sub-continent I think) waiting at the boat ramp to help you put your boat in the water and set off. No sooner have you pulled up than they open your car doors and offer to carry anything movable out and put it in the boat for you. For someone like me who carries half his personal possessions around in the car this can be a little disconcerting!
You need to be alert, to let them know what stays and what goes, and soon many eager hands have the boat loaded up, in the water and waiting for you to park the car and trailer and set off toward the horizon. Twenty Qatari riyal seems to be about the going rate for this service.
We pull out slowly past dozens of dhows moored in the harbour and stop briefly at the harbour-master’s office to let them know where we are going, who is on-board and when we are likely to be back. I haven’t yet had to do this myself and I am wondering how it will go as the conversation seems to be conducted in either Arabic or Hindi and it is shouted between the parties on shore and my companions on the boat. No doubt I will work it out.
We spent much of our time trolling for fish on Friday as we worked our way out to one of the fishing spots we have stored in the sat nav. Trolling, is when you tow a lure behind the boat in an attempt to excite the interest of big pelagic fish like barracuda or kingfish. It is an exciting way to get onto the fish if they are biting bud, sadly, it wasn’t happening for us.
I have to tell you that the catfish was excellent eating and I would highly recommend it. A lot of the credit should go to Waqas’ mother who kindly cooked it for me in a Pakistani curry. Next time it’s my turn.
The rest of my weekend was spent relaxing in the pool, cleaning the house in preparation for Yuliya’s return, and having a new all-singing all-dancing stereo and reverse camera fitted to the Landcruiser. That may form the basis for another story.