Have a Cool Summer in the Hot Desert
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Have a Cool Summer in the Hot Desert

Life in the desert can be difficult at times with the unbearable heat. UMI looks at the best and coldest summer activities that minimize the sweltering Dubai summers.

Have a Cool Summer in the Hot Desert

Not only are the summers in the United Arab Emirates extremely hot, but the desert climate means they’re also sunny and dry. Last July marked the highest ever recorded temperature in Dubai, so after that, it’s understandable why residents might be a little nervous about the season to come. The longest days of the year right in the middle of summer can make the long hours of hot sun feel inescapable. Every year, it’s almost a guarantee that the weather will be very hot, but reviewing tips on how to cope, and planning activities that work with the weather, can help ease the pain.

It’s no surprise that air conditioning is said to have been invented in the Middle East; no doubt out of pure necessity. The city of Dubai is essentially structured around the temperature concerns. Taxis, offices, homes and indoor spaces can all be expected to be air-conditioned. But when the air-conditioned comforts of these enclosed spaces start to feel more like a prison than a place of relief, it’s time to get creative.

Cool shopping

Many people think of shopping when they think of Dubai; the city even has the world’s largest shopping center, the Dubai Mall. Malls this large are better described as entertainment complexes and have more than just stores to entertain those seeking relief from the heat. Restaurants, cafes, a movie theater, an ice rink, a theme park, an aquarium, and an underwater zoo complete with boat rides can all be enjoyed in the comfort of the air-conditioned Dubai Mall.

Outside of shopping, large cities like Dubai have many other indoor cultural opportunities. Theaters and shows, museums, restaurants, ice-skating rinks, classes, gyms and fitness centers, social clubs and libraries are all options that can keep kids and adults alike cooled off and busy for hours. The heat of summer is a perfect opportunity to cross items off a “must do” list and be a tourist in one’s own town. Keeping a running list throughout the year of separate summer and winter activities and goals can help with activity ideas when the next season arrives.

Chill in Dubai's restaurants

Restaurants and bars are popular choices year-round and have the added bonus of being refuges to beat the heat and relax. Some restaurants in Dubai have even begun to recognize their customers’ longing for the feel of being outdoors while keeping cool and comfortable. Outdoor air-conditioning for patios and other al fresco restaurant spaces gives diners the open feeling of eating outside in the sun, while making the experience bearable in high temperatures. Eating spicy foods can actually cool down the body by making it sweat, nature’s form of air conditioning, so don’t be afraid to order a spicy dish!

A more extreme temperature change can be found at The Ice Bar, a bar and lounge made almost entirely of ice. Guests are provided with parkas, gloves and shoes upon arrival, and spend a few minutes in a buffer zone to get used to the drastic temperature change. Whatever the bar or restaurant of choice, especially in the summer it’s important to remember to drink water when drinking alcohol, because alcohol dehydrates the body faster.

Drink plenty of water

Water is essential to hydrate the body in the heat but it can make for a fun and refreshing activity as well. Luckily, Dubai has creative solutions to provide just that. Water parks, such as Wild Wadi Water Park and the Atlantis water park, are fun places to stay cool and still enjoy the sun. Many hotels and facilities actually cool their pools so swimmers are sure to have the relief they need. This is a plus compared to beaches and non-cooled pools that can get very warm sitting under the hot sun all day. For more thrill-seeking types, the Mall of the Emirates’ Ski Dubai indoor ski hill is an unexpected snowy attraction in the desert.

Time Activities wisely

Beaches and swimming are another option to beat the heat in Dubai, but they should be enjoyed with caution. Heatstroke, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and sunburn are all dangers of too much time in the sun and heat. Sunscreen and shade via a hat or an umbrella will all assist in keeping these dangers at bay during time spent outdoors.

Choosing appropriate activities for the time of day can make a big difference in temperature and sun exposure. Steering clear of outdoor activities between noon and four o’clock in the afternoon is helpful to avoid the harshest sun of the day. Early in the morning and later in the evening are the best times to be active outdoors. As in any hot environment, it’s important to drink water throughout the day. Waiting to drink water until thirst sets in is waiting too long: by that time, the body has already begun to signal that it is dehydrated. Dressing in lightweight cotton clothing is another way to help keep the body cool. Even diet can make a difference. Eating lighter foods, such as fruits and vegetables instead of double cheese hamburgers, can help keep the body to feel less sluggish and more hydrated throughout the day.

Watch home temperature

Of course, no one can stay out on the move all day and night. To make sure home is the cool oasis needed at the end of the day, try to use heat-giving appliances, like the oven or clothes dryer, as little as possible. This will keep the temperature down in addition to saving on energy. Ensure that any cracks or gaps in walls, windows and doors, especially those around an air conditioning unit, are closed so that the precious cold air stays inside. Fans can be an indispensable way to spread cool air around the home when used efficiently. Use fans to blow hot air out, not just cold air in, and to spread cooled air from room to room. And for a simple quick fix, a cold compress or shower will cool the body down fast.

This summer, plan ahead for the weather, be creative, make sure to drink lots of water, and have fun!


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