Dubai has a love-hate relationship with sunshine. Will Milner doesn’t think we should get the hump
All things considered, we’re doing pretty well, us humans. I think we can all be very proud of ourselves. You may not have been personally involved with one of our greatest achievements (pyramids, literature, Lady Gaga’s hair), but you’re one of us and you deserve a big pat on the back. Well done you!
As a species, we’re one of the new kids on the block. Primitive reptiles, insects, fish and birds almost certainly walked, hopped, swam and flew the Earth before we came along. But in our short time we’ve made significant planetary contributions.
Nature may have given us birdsong, but we gave back Beethoven, Mozart and Bach. After centuries of observing birds in flight, we are now able to put a man on the moon. The natural world produces most of our food, but it is left to us lot to invent aerosol cheese.We truly are the masters of the universe and the champions of our environment.
But still there is much to learn from the animal kingdom. Take, for example, the humble camel. Ask one to unscrew the lid from a jar of jam or recommend a good detective novel and they won’t help at all. Even the best-intentioned among them will stare blankly and snort derisively. If you get one of the grumpy ones, they might even spit in your face.
What they are very good at, however, is surviving the summer heat without descending into a sweaty, hysterical mess. The big hump, lolling tongue and thick eyelashes are all part of their in-built air conditioning. Ask any long-term expat how they cope with the heat and you’ll be met with withering disdain. ‘There’s no way of doing it. You have two options; get out of town for summer OR DIE!’ Surely we can do better than that? Why haven’t we invented a fabric that is light and cooling to the touch? Would eyelash extensions help that shrivelling dryness around the eyes? Is there a diet to counter the effects of 45°C heat?
As it turns out, there is something that can help with the most oppressive sunshine. It is one of our oldest concepts and something we’ve been working on for centuries. I like to call it ‘the indoors’. It has been making outside less harsh for centuries and is so efficient even camels try it out sometimes.
If this is your first Dubai summer, don’t believe the hype. It’s not that bad. Unless you’re a fan of outdoor jogging and layered clothing, it will be a breeze. And if anybody tells you otherwise, be cool like a camel – look them in the eye, stare blankly and snort derisively.