Saturday, July 03, 2004

Melting in the Middle East

As we roll into July, the summer sauna kicks in. And us Tel Avivians are the ones who pay. Let me correct myself - us Anglo Tel Avivians are the ones who pay.

Tel Aviv and the rest of the central coastal area is always the most humid in Israel. Temperatures during the day often don't get so high, maybe averaging out at 32-33 degrees. However, the humidity is often the killer, reaching 70-80%. If you don't have air conditioning, you melt. It's as simple as that. My own personal favourite is stepping out of the shower and towelling down...within seconds you are wet again as the sweat glands start working overtime. Do you re-towel or run for the fan? Mmmm...

Now, you're probably asking yourselves why not stick the air conditioner on all day, right? We do have an air conditioner here, but the problem isn't me, it's mrs. anglosaxy. She's a native girl, with Iraqi-Iranian blood coursing through her veins. That means she sleeps fully-clothed with a big, thick duvet. In the height of summer. So whenever I stick the air conditioner on, she suffers. When watching TV, she can often be spotted sporting that same duvet, wrapped delicately around her shoulders. I can be spotted sitting alongside her, wearing, well, a pair of shorts and nothing much else.

Sleeping is the biggest problem. With the air conditioner banned at night, I have to work with a fan to get my body temperature down. But the sweet, cold air is not permitted to ruffle mrs. anglosaxy's duvet. That means I have to position the fan very carefully, otherwise my life won't be worth living, at least not for that night.

A couple of examples of what I go through:
1. Yesterday we did some weekend shopping at the local supermarket. Until the car's air conditioning kicks in, it's already time to get out and peel the t-shirt from your sticky back. I headed straight for the frozen products section and stayed there most of the time. I particularly love it when they have those clouds of cool mist shooting down across the various products from above. I would dearly love some of that at home...
2. The day before yesterday, took mrs. anglosaxy down to Banana Beach in Tel Aviv to enjoy the sunset and to celebrate her finishing one of her two Open University exams. After the sun had disappeared (approximately 3 seconds after), the shivers set in and we had to go. The temperature at the time? Approx. 25 degrees.

I'm not sure how other mixed marriages (Israelis and Anglos) work it, but I don't enjoy those sweaty July and August months, unless I'm beaching it. Dare I say it, I even enjoy coming in to the corridor of hell because of the rampant air conditioning...and if the corridor of hell is my preferred choice...