Feeling the Heat in the Hottest Place on Earth

46.9° C or 116.4° F in Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaI’m not sure that this is the hottest place on earth, but if it isn’t, I’m sure that it’s close.

Upon waking up yesterday morning on my first of two day’s off, I found that the Internet in my hotel was down. 

Thursday and Friday is Saturday and Sunday in this part of the world.

I decided to take a stroll to Starbucks, hoping to connect there.  After ordering an overpriced coffee, I came to realize that their Internet was also out of order.

Even though this land is super wealthy, it’s still a developing one.  Judging from the infinite construction going on, I consider the words ‘developing country’ to be an understatement.  

Internet infrastructure isn’t at the caliber I’m used to. 

I did things offline, studied a bit of Arabic, and conversed with random patrons, mostly in English.

After a few hours, I realized that there wasn’t a bathroom.  As nature called, it was time to leave.  It was 1:30 pm.  The blistering sun hovered in an unforgiving way, almost straight up in the sky.

I strolled into a small mall to use a bathroom.  There I was able to throw some Arabic words at the Yemeni security guards whom I’d eaten kapsa with two and a half weeks prior.  I managed to put together a few phrases.  It felt good.

While  leaving, I made sure to wear my hat and shades. I put sunscreen on my arms, hands and face. 

Upon heading back to the hotel, I went a bit out of the way to find that my little Sudanese hole in the wall was closed.

After eating two small plates of spicy cauliflower and potatoes at a traditional restaurant across the street from my hotel, I popped back in to find that the Internet was still down. 

I must have walked for about a mile or 1.6 kilometers.

I grabbed a book and plopped onto the bed.   My eyes closed before  finishing the first sentence.  I was out for over three hours.

Late yesterday afternoon, I woke up to a feeling that I’d remembered having twice before.  Once during chilhood, I’d spent too much time on a Massachusetts beach, only to come down with nasty sun poisoning.  The second time was after boogie boarding in Bali.  I remembered the foul feeling inside my body the next day.

For the third time in my life, I had this mild feeling of an uncomfortable inner sensation.  I felt lightheaded and slightly weak.  The ill feeling was mild but there until I went to bed at around 2 am.   I thought:  I couldn’t have walked much more than a mile.  Didn’t I take all the necessary precautions?     I went on thinking: The moral of the story is:  On your day off, if you’re going to head out into the 47° C or 116° F heat, take a taxi. Don’t go for a casual stroll.  Respect the sun.

NOTE:  I’m told that the digital temperature displays around the city are actually set a couple of degrees lower than the actual temperature.  I have no way of knowing if this is true.  Although, rumors can be legit.

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Have you ever experienced temps as hot as this?  Do you think that this is the hottest place on earth?

For the third time in my life, I had this mild feeling of an uncomfortable inner sensation.


6 Responses to Feeling the Heat in the Hottest Place on Earth

  1. Pru says:

    I’ll trade your sweltering hot temps for a cold and snowy Vermont winter coming ’round the horizon…

    • EarthDrifter says:

      PRU: The grass is always greener… I’d trade you in a heartbeat. :-) This coming winter is slated to be my third straight away, where there’s no winter. I like winter as long as I’m dressed for it. I miss snow.

  2. Ganesh says:

    I can understand how hot it could be. I live at Nagpur, one of the hottest places in India. Temperature goes beyond 48 in May. It’s severely hot for even the natives, so might be dangerous for those who aren’t used to it.

    Glad to know (in the earlier comment) that people speak Urdu there. Urdu is a language of subcontinent and almost the same as Hindustani (except the script). Try some Hindi with those taxi drivers and they’ll be surprised.

    And take care from heat!

    • EarthDrifter says:

      GANESH: I remember how hot it was in north India last summer. The natives were sweating too. And it’s humid there, it wore me out. In contrast, here it’s dry and there’s A/C everywhere, too much of it even.
      I knew that Urdu and Hindi are similar. But I didn’t know that they’re practically the same. I use Shukria(thank you), and kitna how much and tora tora. I’ve even adapted some of my few Hindi words to Arabic: Shukria or Shukran and Challo, yalla or let’s go. This has made me realize that you and these Urdu speakers can learn Arabic faster than a native English speaker as there are more associations you can use. I never realized how useful Urud/Hindi is outside of India/Pakistan. Pakistanis and Indians are in so many major cities throughout the globe, especially in the middle east and Europe. :-)

  3. Al says:

    Sounds like the weather may be similar to Vegas or Phoenix… I assumed you drank lots of fluids, when the weather is so dry you can sweat copiously without noticing because it evaporates right off. At least that´s what hapenned to me. Glad to see you´re picking up Arabic -have you thought about taking classes?

    • EarthDrifter says:

      AL: Great guess. I thought the same. But, I just did a 10 day forecast check on Phoenix, Vegas and Riyadh. Riyadh has highs around 9 degrees F hotter every day. It’s still similar though.
      YES! Fluids (water) is so important. I didn’t drink quite enough that day. I’m picking Arabic up very slowly. Work is mostly English. Most of the taxi driver’s speak Urdu. Many other service workers are imported, lots from the Philippines. They speak good English and little Arabic. I’d love to sign up for a class yes, it’s doable. Gonna give it a little time, still settling in.

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