I Love Winter!

Yes it is true: “I love winter!” Not that I ever thought I’ll utter those words. When I think of winter the first word that comes to mind is “cold”. To that list I can add many images, but they will always come back to me being cold, and being cold is not a sensation I particularly enjoy. Winter in the UAE cannot quite be described as cold. Yes, the temperatures do drop significantly, especially at night in the middle of winter, and maybe then, on occasion, the word “cold” could be used, but at best it can be described as “chilly”. Average minimum temperatures for the middle of winter hover around 14 degrees, which admittedly for me is a tad more than just “chilly”, but I am not planning to be out and about then. I’ll wait for the sun and its welcome warmth.

Officially winter stretches from November to March, but the average daytime temperatures still reach into the low thirties during the month of November. The average maximum temperatures for December through February is said to range between 24 and 26 degrees. Locals speak of occasional snowfall during certain years on the towering Hajar Mountains that frame the horizon, so I may still be in for a surprise this winter! The little bit of rain, no more than 100mm a year, also falls during the winter months, and I have been witness to a couple of fat raindrops that unfortunately failed to even soak the upper layer of dust. The clouds have on a couple of days hold the distinct promise of rain, complete with faint thunder and occasional lighting, but that is unfortunately where the promise also ended. I’d love to experience a thunderstorm here, especially because they are so rare, and although I am not quite the “dancing in the rain” type, I may even do that.

Winter here summons in an exuberant energy that not only sustains life, but encourages an abundance of activity. People make the most of the outdoors and they swim, hike, walk, run, row, jet & water ski, cycle, sail, fish, paraglide…. It is a list that can be stretched out like bubblegum to encompass all outdoor activities one can think of and at all hours of the day.

Walking along the promenade on a weekend night, you will encounter families picnicking, children running around with free abandon, and even naughty teenagers testing the limits of the go-carts that were meant for the enjoyment of their younger brothers and sisters. The atmosphere is vibrant with laughter and gossip, and as National Day on the 2nd of December is approaching, there is an extra festive energy afoot. Colourful lights, and light decorations are everywhere, and fireworks light up the night sky regularly during this month-long party that officially started on November 1st. The UAE this year is celebrating 40 years of unity, and no expense is being spared to mark this milestone.