Add to Technorati Favorites expat Abu Dhabi Dispatches: Winter....What Winter???

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Winter....What Winter???

I learned something shocking about my new, ultra-modern, stylish apartment today. IT HAS NO HEAT!

That's right, no provisions for heating the living area. "But Ace, why would you want a heater in one of the hottest places on Earth?", you may ask. Well, being anchored to the Earth, Winter also visits this part of the world. It is here now!

When I first moved here in August the daily high was around 115 F. Air conditioning is rightly considered a life support system and you could literally die in the heat and humidity as some do. Fortunately, this is well taken care of as in most indoor venues in the U.A.E are a nice and frosty 66-70 F. including my apartment which you could hang meat in if you wanted to get it that cold. It has that much excess capacity. 

As much as the AC is over-engineered, no one thought how to handle the chilly nights in the other half of the year or even thought it was necessary. Now that mid-December is upon me and there has been some blustery, rainy weather I grew tired of waking up to an apartment that has been consistently in the low 60's. I started longing for warm feet and goosebumpless shower exits.

There are 2 thermostats in my apartment, one in the living room and one in the bedroom. Each has a switch on it that has a snowflake on one side and a little flame design on the other. Being a gadget guy, I assumed moving the switch from snowflake to flame would instruct the climate control system to change roles from AC to heater as it has done all my life. I longed for that temporary burning dust smell that told me that my extremeties would soon be toasty. To my surprise, the fans kept blowing COLD air when I moved the switches from the snowflake to the flame position and the temperature dropped no matter how high I set the thermostats. After another hasty exit from the shower to grab my bathrobe, I had to admit I was stumped,

When I got to work I complained about the lack of heat to my coworkers and instead of recommendations on how to get the thing fixed, all I heard was that nobody else had heat either. I was floored! Apparently there is not a centrally heated house in this entire country! The best suggestions were to buy several space heaters and blankets to get through the mild Winters here. Granted they ARE mild and short-lived but I need supplemental heat when my living space is hovering in the high 50's!

I never thought I would live in an unheated place unless it was an empty refrigerator box under an interstate bridge, then I would expect to be cold, but not here in a nice place in one of the richest countries in the world! Part of the adventure, I guess! Who woulda thunk?

No comments: