When I stepped off the plane two weeks ago in Raleigh-Durham, the temperature read 97 degrees in the shade. It was so hot my eyes sweated and I felt like I had a rash. It’s settled down to a mere 85 degrees today, but it feels much hotter. The sun is a terrible, searing power that saps all your energy and scorches your skin. You cannot survive in it without a hat.
I’ve been in hotter climates. Nothing prepared me for Qatar, where the sky and the land are white hot and to walk into that light feels like heading into an oven, a fire, a blinding nothingness of burning and desolation, salt and stone and dessication.
Here, at least, you sweat in the sun. Your own body water pours out of your forehead and eyelids and hairline, behind your ears and down your neck, between your breasts and under your armpits and in your crotch. When you are becalmed in dead wind, as we were, yesterday, sailing back from Ocracoke, you bake like a fish in the oven; your skin gets all crispy and brown and your backbone gets wobbly and bendy. I did the only sensible thing: I took off all my clothes and poured bucketfuls of ocean water on my body, up on the front deck. But one can’t do that in Oriental, at the dock, without getting arrested, so the wise thing to do is to head down below into air conditioning with a book.
But on Ocracoke you can go to the Atlantic, where the wind cools you down and everything is beautiful and slow and clean. Here’s a video of my Ryan on the beach there: