Dubai: While many in the West are still coming to terms with the current heatwave, closer home, resilient fun-and-sun-loving residents in the UAE have long perfected the art.
As author Jenny Han said, “Everything magical happens between the months of June and August….” She may have been talking about summers in Europe or North America. However, people from the UAE have, over the years, learnt to appreciate sunny clear skies, so what if the mercury keeps going higher. Everyone who has spent a summer of two in the UAE knows how to steal out cooler times and have fun.
It is business as usual for all UAE residents, be it the Jumeirah Janes, the pinstriped investment bankers, the fashionistas across the malls, the white apron health brigade, the nightclub teenagers or the tough blue-collar tribe on work sites. The ingenious, never-say-die tribe here is certainly in no hurry to scurry indoors or stay glued to their televisions. Armed with straw hats, sun glares, light linen clothing, they find a way to enjoy the vibrant café and bistro culture across the town and even squeeze in dips in the pool or savour a tropical drink at the beach during sundown, as well as chomp on cheesy nachos at the cinema.
The average UAE resident knows how to have the cake and eat it too. In other words, staying in this part of the world where sunshine and clear skies are a given round the year, people have learnt to live and let live during the summers. The only difference is, that during these peak summer months, they tweak their lifestyle and instead of steaming soups or cappuccinos, they order jars of iced tea or cold lattes, have beachside or poolside sundowners.
Barbecues are out but kebabs are still in and so are the kitty parties. As they say, in the UAE, you never stop partying. The only difference is that one learns to slather more sun block cream and party in the mall-side kerb cafes or in the cool confort of plush homes.
Gulf News asked a typical UAE resident of how he or she beats the sunny mercury blues and discovered some really sartorial and quirky choices to keep cool.
Not one to miss her walk
A walking enthusiast, UK expatriate and communications specialist Lucy Bradley, has tweaked her lifestyle to clock 30 minutes of walking during the summers in the early morning hours before the relentless sun rays weaken her resolution. Bradley described her summer schedule.
“Well definitely no jeans, I wear dresses, and I never leave the house without a hat; keeping the sun off my face really keeps me cool. Drinking water is necessary, but also keep the cooling at home at a moderate 25 degrees Celsius. That way, you are not jumping in and out of hot and cold air all the time. I go running but before 7am for 30 minutes. I walk to work - live in the Greens and work in Tecom - and I enjoy the 15-minute walk even during summer.”
A must-have hydrating drink
Holistic healer Sonali Pandya loves to court the summer with a generous dollop of sunscreen, a straw hat and sun glares.
“I have to step out, whatever happens and I chose to socialise early mornings or after 5pm with my summer accessories. There is a special summer drink I make which is a combination of coconut water, crushed ice and pineapple juice. That is the best way to replenish my lost electrolytes and keep me hydrated. I make a jugful for a day and apart from the delicious taste, it is a great mood lifter too, especially in the mornings when I am at work. In the evenings, I usually am able to go with friends to the pool or beach after sunset and splash around,” said Pandya, who is a die-hard Dubai lover and resident for over two decades now.
A swim a day keeps the heat away
Media and communications consultant Eithne Treanor believes in keeping cool with a pool splash early morning.
“Keeping cool is everyone’s main focus in sunny Dubai. I am usually in Europe this time of the year, but given travel disruptions, airport chaos and summer heat, I decided to give it a miss. I am usually at the swimming pool at 7am because the heat is bearable at this time. I find I have the pool to myself too,” said Treanor who also includes indoor summer reading for some relaxation.
Light clothes, ice-cool water and laban
For Abdul Rahman, 36, a young Bangladeshi expatriate working with a cleaning company in UAE for the last 16 years, the best trick to hoodwink summers on job is to have glucose water.
“Usually, we have indoor cleaning duty, and we also get our mid-day off during the peak afternoon hours in summer. However, on the occasions when we are required to work outdoors, we carry the five-gallon bottle of water with ice cubes in it and a packet of glucose. This is dissolved in water and we have it to replenish our lost glucose. We also alternate this with small tetra packs of butter milk or Laban,” said Rahman who makes it a point to wear light cotton clothes and carry a small towel with him on duty. Occasionally, he also carries a change of clothes to freshen himself up.
‘Summer lasts only a few months’
Meanwhile, it has been only two weeks since Mohammad Rahman Riaz, 20, came to Dubai from Sargodha, Pakistan, to work for a food delivery company.
He told Gulf News, “I have seen sweltering summers in Pakistan, but nothing like this kind of heat and humidity. I work nine hours a day and often, delivering food on the bike can be daunting. To beat the heat, I have up to five litres of water in a day. I usually tank up before delivery, wear full protective clothing, including a complete face cover that leaves only space for the eyes, which are also covered by sunglasses. I also have at least two to three energy drinks in a day. To keep cool, I shower when I leave for my deliveries and shower and change when I return home at the end of the day. The best way to think of this period is that it lasts only for a few months, and managing it makes my life easier.”