Iraq is hot. This isn't Texas-hot or even Mexico-hot. This is a mouth-so-dry-you-can-barely-talk kind of hot. I've never craved water as much as I do here. It's completely normal for temperatures to stay up around 115 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, so how do you beat the heat?
Well, until Bear Grylls decides to brave this desert, here are a few tips from yours truly on how you can beat the Iraqi sun.
1. The locals have an efficient method for staying cool and they've been doing it for centuries--they stay inside! As my Kurdish friend told me, when it gets hot enough to fry an egg on the street and there isn’t a pressing need to go anywhere, stay indoors and wait for the sun to go away.
2. But, as much as you'd like to hide inside, sometimes that just isn't possible. Cabin fever sets in, and, once the walls start closing in, you'll risk the eyeball-melting heat for a little air. So what do you do? Scout out any and every bit of shade to walk under. This may mean moving to the other side of the street and under the shadow of buildings or considering a new route through the shady (in both senses of that word) alleys or underground passages through the bazaar to reach your destination.
3. In some places, you beat the heat by drinking something cold, like iced tea. Here, the idea of icing a tea or coffee is absurd. Iraqis continue to drink boiling hot tea--even when the weather is the same temperature as the drink. However, they do have smoothie stands on almost every busy street corner. Here you can drink freshly blended cantaloupe, kiwi, carrot or orange juice. It's pure fruit, it's cold and it's usually less than 25 cents a cup! So there you have--3 ways to stay cool and beat the Iraqi heat! Hope that helps!