So in my recent excursion to the warmer climates of South-West Asia I came to realize that deserts are not fun. You are faced with three extremes there.
First, there is the normal everyday expected heat. 120F is not anyones idea of fun in the sun. You spend most your time outside drinking water because you can’t seem to drink enough. There is almost always a wind that blows sand, gravel, rocks and creepy crawlies down the back of your neck. It is hot, it is miserable…it is a normal day in the desert.
Second there are the cold nights. I say that any place on the planet earth that can reach temperatures warm enough to literally cook an egg should not be allowed to drop to sub-freezing temps the next night. It is intolerable. And it happens fast. One minute you’re slowly cooking in your own juices, then next your are trying to don your insulated APECS to keep from freezing to death.
Lastly there is the “wet” season. In nice places like Afghanistan and Iraq you get a little rain all year long (or so it seems). In Qatar, they get about 2 weeks of rain a year, and they get them all at once. The dry, dusty desert turns into a morass of mud the consistency of wet-concrete. Flat plains and small depressions turn into shallow lakes and ponds. Any hole that is dug turns into your own personal mud bath. And it sucks.
Now the wet season is a welcome change for those that are posted in Qatar for long periods of time. They like to have fun when it rains, as evidenced by some of the frivolity that occurs during and afterwards. For example, in an “undisclosed location” in Qatar there is an area in one of the living compounds that hold water like a basin. It is never more than a few inches deep, but it lasts longer than any other pond in the area. Not long after the rains there was a sign posted next to the small pond procaiming it “Lake (undisclosed location)” and citing the rules for enjoying the “lake.” The were as follows:
- No motorized craft are authorized on lake. This includes power boats, jet-skis and gas propelled “scooters”
- Reflective Belts (another story) must be worn at all times while enjoying the lake
- Personal Flotation must be worn at all times when enjoying the lake
- No Swimming
- No Splashing
- No Wading
- No “toeing” the water
- No sitting within 5 feet of the waters edge, when water present
- No suntanning
- No laughing, quiet hours are in effect 24 hours a day
- No joking
- No running
- No lifeguard on duty, enjoy the lake at your own risk
- Removal of this sign is strictly forbidden by AF Manual ID-10-T, Section 13, Subheading 5, Paragraph 69
Needless to say the sign was never moved, even after the water had evaporated. As far as I know it is still there.