Initially, when I came back from the US, my apartment was really hot. Too hot to stay in actually, and airless. Can’t open the windows because it’s worse outside. The spare bedroom was cool though; the A/C in there worked, when used with the fan. Can’t say why. It’s probably on a different circuit than the rest of the entire complex. They are doing transformer work outside, and have been since February at least. Which means we lose power every 5-6 minutes, for 30 -60 seconds. The electronics love it. No wonder the air conditioners give up! After moaning and complaining for a couple of days, and the new a/c s were no improvement, I discovered how to keep my place livable. Sacrifice the kitchen and bathroom first of all. Close them off; they’re on their own. I am on the 2nd floor and get the late afternoon sun and it just bakes this place. By leaving the a/c s and the all the fans on at top speed, and keeping everything closed off, and the curtains closed, the apartment stays a tolerable temperature. And in the morning I can even use the kitchen. I can use it at lunch too, because even though it’s hot, it’s only in the evening that it becomes literally like a super hot sauna. I invited my neighbor up to see it. You open the door and whoosh! It’s hotter than Muscat I think. I go in waving my arms around, grab what I need and scram.
But lately we’ve had a nice breeze on the beach in the evening. Only on the beach though. I want to go camping with my friend but he is adamant that it has to cool off first, just a bit. So every evening I text him: Hi! We’ve got a nice breeze here on the beach! If I was to sleep right now I’d need a sheet! It’s almost chilly! And clouds! But he just harrumphs. When I’m halfway back to the parking lot I see why. By the time I’m back home, which is only about 200 yards from the beach as the crow flies, I scuttle inside as fast as I can. The air is so heavy it could mug me. You can see the steaminess in the bottom of the photo below.
We only have a little while left of this though, before the rains come. Khareef season is special to Salalah. It’s the Monsoon, basically, and lasts from mid-July to the end of August, more or less. Temperatures drop, and rain falls daily, making the Dhofari hills green and fertile. Waterfalls gush, flowers bloom, roads flood, and the entire Arabian Peninsula descends on Salalah.
I do my little frangipani harvest in the morning now, although it’s actually more humid earlier. The trees are going nuts, exploding blossoms like mad.
I’ve been in Salalah for just over a week now, and as usual, it’s completely different this time. I’m like an airplane trying to land at jfk. Circling, circling. “Comfortable with Uncertainty.” There’s a worthy goal. Anyone thinks they are? Want to test it out? Then just move to Oman. But I am learning to give it right back and this is very satisfying. “Yes, I don’t know, maybe tomorrow, or the day after. Maybe. Some time. One of these days. Inshallah.” and I wave my hands dismissively and people just laugh. Well, if they can talk in circles then so can I. I find it’s easy and natural. And it takes away a lot of frustration. The trick is to mean it, and I have no problem.
It’s all I can do to say “Ma’arafshee. Yimkin. Bukra. Inshallah. Khallas. Ma’asalaama habibi!”