There are many criteria that define whether a country is either a developed or developing one. I can’t be bothered to list all the contents of the United Nation’s big book that outlines such things, but I can tell you that one item on the check list is to have clean, safe drinking water. Like Greece, you don’t drink the tap water over here. There are many reasons for this, but the one I pick on as the most noticeable is that its temperature is jolly high.
The more attuned expatriate may have noticed that in recent weeks the temperature has increased from an average cool 25 Celsius to a gentleman’s 45 Celsius. A result of this is that it is much hotter…big deal? Yes. And here’s why.
For those of you that aren’t aware, the UAE straddles the Tropic of Cancer, which makes it officially one of the hottest places on Earth. This causes many problems in the summer months, and the one that makes me weep more than anything is the torment I face when I want to brush my teeth or enjoy a nice shower.
Now, why is this? The water comes from the Gulf…or Persian Gulf to my Iranian fans. It goes into big desalination plants, has its salt, plankton and sunken pirate ships removed and is then sent along big pipes to the various distribution centres around the country. It stays in big tanks before the municipality turns the tap once a day and sends it out there into the town. People’s water tanks are subsequently filled and running water is the luxurious result. Sadly, all of our water tanks are on our roofs, with nothing between them and the sun but lots of blue sky and space dust. The result is unpleasant.
So you awake after a decent night’s kip, yawn, stretch and limp to the bathroom. You first go to the sink to give the pearly whites their morning polish. The toothpaste is squeezed elegantly onto the brush; you turn the cold tap on and stick the brush in your mouth. At first you think the slight tingling sensation is quite nice, until you look into the mirror and find blood gushing from your mouth as a result of the third degree burns you have just inherited.
After you try to repair the damage with some mouthwash you head north to the shower. With blood still pouring from your scalded mouth you turn the shower tap on. Cold tap only of course…Your initial reaction is to scream quite loudly as large amounts of flesh are burnt from your torso. Once you have scrubbed yourself to the bone and have dried off what’s left your next stop is the kitchen.
With blood still cascading from your mouth and bits of you missing you go to fill the kettle to make the morning tea. You turn the kettle on for anywhere between 0.2 and 0.3 tenths of a second before it clicks off. The water was boiled before it even went in there. So you sip it down and try to recover some of your nerve endings. The whole experience is insufferable.
So how can I help you with this? Well I for once have a genuine plan. Obviously we don’t need to use our boilers anymore, not until the harsh UAE winter comes in. So turn it off. The best thing is that it will still fill with water and of course where is your boiler? Inside, away from the blitzkrieg of our average sized star of course. So when you turn the hot tap on the cool, refreshing water flows out like Niagra falls, not like Mount Krakatoa. The problem hence is solved and you no longer need to visit A&E after brushing your teeth each day.
So to recap: You want a hot shower, use the cold tap. You want a cold shower, use the hot tap. Who said the UAE wasn’t a developed country?