This is the last part of a trilogy of Last Word pieces detailing the Middle Eastern adventures that have resulted in near-death experiences for me. You may recall in June I was extremely close to being stuck in a multi-storey car park for 38 hours, but thankfully escaped. Then in July I told you about how the air conditioning in my car cut out – which almost ended in my expiration, but thankfully only resulted in much perspiration.
You might have thought I’d have wised up by now (I know my family and friends all thought I would have), but no – there is more woe for little old Patrick Hulbert.
This month, my tale is of an epic journey by foot, battling intense heat to try and get to the vista, the oasis, my sanctuary – also known, on this occasion, as the Karama post office.
I moved to the region from the UK almost a year ago, and while it seems like a lifetime ago I was in dear old Blighty, my body still hasn’t got used to the sizzling UAE heat. Wind and rain is where my comfort zone lies, though soon my body must catch up with its new environment.
But I digress, let me paint you a picture. It’s 35°C, I’m outside in the midday heat, and I’m carrying a teddy bear. The bear was a gift for a friend back home, who was about to have a baby. I suppose the bear was really for the baby, but it didn’t have a name at this point, so I couldn’t address the parcel properly.
A colleague told me that Karama post office was five minutes’ walk from the Metro station and would be easy to get to. So I set off. After five hot minutes, the post office was nowhere in sight, but I carried on regardless. Another five minutes passed and my trousers and shirt were now soaked through. My shoes may even have been squelching. Still, on I plodded – for another ten minutes, in fact. By which point I was close to collapse. I could see a building up ahead that may have been it, but it didn’t seem likely so I turned back – bear in hand.
Eventually I got back to the office, furious with the colleague who gave me directions. However, they were correct and I had in fact made it to the post office but failed to see it.
I had to head back, only this time in a cab, stopping off at a shop for a new teddy bear on the way.
Well, I needed something to mop my brow with.
Patrick Hulbert is the editor of Time Out Doha. We think he’s been out in the sun too long.