How To Cope With The Heat In UAE
Updated on 01 June 2019

By: Salamah Ghudayer

“It was never hot like this,” Ghudayer used to say. He believed the region got hotter when the cities were built as concrete absorbs heat. It was also likely due to once someone feels the coolness of air conditioning; the temperature previously feels hot. Many older people do not like air conditioning. They worry it weakens the persons body and mind. However, most people living in the Emirates agree, life would not be comfortable without the modern coolness of an air con.

Our Director Abdullah bin Eisa Al Serkal tells people the stories of his generation being the last of the ones who did the summer migration. Business families of the Creek area, would move for the hot months toward Al Mamzar. It was considered more windy and so cooler. Bedouin families out in the desert would switch to a very open tent, with just a roof mainly to provide shade. The settled city people, known as Hadtheri, but who could not participate in moving for a season would erect wind towers. Out of gypsum or fabric, a wooden frame would take up position in a corner of the house. Once covered in either material afforded by the family, the cube structure would be open on all four sides above the roof line, though covered at the top and open at the bottom; hot air would rise out and a cooler breeze would sink down into the home below. Often, they would be wetted for the night or wet headdresses from the men would be hung on the frame to allow cooler moist air to flow down, and to even increase air movement on nights with little breeze.

Aside from structurally, we scheduled our days differently. Nobody was expected to put forth much effort from the noon prayer until after the late afternoon prayer or sunset. Businesses often took the local version of a siesta, called Maqeel. Food was lighter and eaten in small portions. Drinks, such as tea were still popular as the sugar content helped with any sickness from the heat.

For modern times, ensure that you are well hydrated. Many people assume because they are not in the sun, but hidden away in their offices they don’t need to worry, but air conditioning effects the body greatly as well. In the summer months, people should average 3 litres per day. That’s two of the tall water bottles we are used to. For those heading out to the desert, it is not the season to try your desert driving skills for the first time. Only experienced drivers should be heading out in the summer months, even if you leave in the cooler times, if you happened to get stuck unprepared, the next day could become life threatening. Ensure you have downloaded the Dubai Police App and have data available. Never leave your car if you can not see a main road, as it will provide shade and be the first thing searchers can find.

The lifestyle of the region used to be more accommodating to the heat, but with being a global hub for business, we are working and full of activities all day long. You can see the calmness in the local attitudes and the clothing which is meant for comfort in the climate. There are moments you can see the culture was molded around the environment and we knew to bend rather than force nature to meet our schedule.

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