You Know It’s Summer In Saudi When..

You know summer has arrived in Saudi Arabia when..

-the second you step outside you feel as if you’ve walked into a convection oven.

-you at the same time dread and wish for a gush of wind or even a breeze

-that gush of wind feels like someone is blasting the hairdryer on your face on full heat

-you take the sheets out to dry in the sun and after five minutes they have dried into something resembling crispy potato chips

-the kiddy pool you have outside has reached scalding temperatures

-a minimum of 10 giant bags of ice needs to be dumped into the kiddy pool in order to make it safe to touch the water

-you discover swimming goggles and inflatables melt into plastic lumps if forgotten in the sun.

-when all the trees and bushes in the desert have become brown and the camels have stopped eating them due to burnt taste

-camel hair turns black from burning in the sun

-you can cook eggs on the car hood

-the car door handle is so hot you need to open it with the sleeve of your abaya

-you are thankful for the abaya that protects from second degree burns when you enter the car now turned sauna and sit on the leather benches

-you leave the house in your bikinis, under the abaya

-all movement in the city stops from noon to 4 p.m

-most Saudis hide indoors until 8 pm.

-the bag of ice you placed on your head has melted after 5 minutes.

-the Saudis finally think it’s warm enough to swim in the pool but you think it has turned into a hot tub

-when your sunglasses turn foggy the minute you step out

-your face looks like a cooked tomato after about 20 seconds spent outside

-the water coming from the water tank is almost boiling hot and you can say your goodbyes to cold showers

-to get luke warm water you must turn the hot water boiler off and use that for “cold” water

-in order to have a “cool” shower you must wake up at 4 am

-the outside temperature doesn’t drop below 40c even in the night


-that Bebsi cola you left in the sun for 10 minutes has started boiling

-that book you read outside has melted and all the pages dropped off

-your cats scream and run back inside in panic after touching the scorching hot ground.

-your dog refuses to walk outside in the daytime.

-you discover that outdoor candles can handle fire, but not the Saudi sun!

Check out these funny comparisons between the Finnish and Saudi weather extremes and how to survive them!

Finnish- Saudi Temperature Extremes Chart 

Saudis and Finns- The Ultimate Weather Survivors 

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  • RobynMay 23, 2012 - 3:29 am

    yep-you easily forget how hot it gets in the summer in the Middle East. eeekReplyCancel

  • FarooqMay 23, 2012 - 6:29 am

    hmmm bikinis under abayas..thats a first. is that when guys hope that a gust of wind blows the abayas apart lol.

    Well written as always laylah. have always felt asking for leather seats in the car is really asking for trouble.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 23, 2012 - 7:13 pm

      Farooq-that’s what the closed model abayas are good for ;)ReplyCancel

  • Star VogueMay 23, 2012 - 6:53 am

    Yeah we are getting there to over in the UAE!
    http://starvogue84.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • ربة منزلMay 23, 2012 - 7:20 am

    For some reason, Saudis still stick to their habits even in America. We never go out for dinner or shopping or plan any event till after 7 pm. Maybe we go to the mall, but only in the afternoon, never go anywhere in the morning.ReplyCancel

  • HudaMay 23, 2012 - 8:56 am

    lol the bebsi cola starts boiling! gross!
    Btw is that a camel skeleton in the bottom pic?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 23, 2012 - 7:14 pm

      Huda-yes it’s a camel skeleton I found in the Rub Al Khali, Empty Quarter!ReplyCancel

  • NoorMay 23, 2012 - 11:29 am

    Bikinis under abaya ha I do not know about that one but I do wash my hair and put it up under my niqab and hijab which makes me cooler. When we go out in the sun it seems weird bc we never go out before isha lol.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 23, 2012 - 7:15 pm

      Noor-give it a try sometime lol
      That’s a good trick washing the hair, have you tried just wetting the whole hijab? I do that when I go out to the park in the daytime :)ReplyCancel

    • NoorMay 23, 2012 - 11:53 pm

      Yea I am sure my dh would like that haha with every step I take everyone can see everything :pReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 24, 2012 - 1:17 am

      every step you take..every move you make..I’ll be watching you LOL
      Don’t wear a sheer abaya :)ReplyCancel

  • Proud MuslimahMay 23, 2012 - 4:19 pm

    Sounds like my version of hell. lol. I don’t do heat. At all. Wisconsin is plenty hot for me.

    And the comment above mine (I think Rabia Manzl?) is so right. When I lived with Saudia in California, it was amazing how nocternal they were. Dinner by 7-8, bed by 4am, awake by noon or 1 pm.

    And is that last picture a skeleton of a dinosaur!? lol. It’s huge!ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 23, 2012 - 7:17 pm

      Proud Muslimah-remember the heat here is dry heat so (unlike the coastal cities) it’s far more tolerable and does not feel as bad as it sounds most of the time :)ReplyCancel

  • YunnanMay 23, 2012 - 6:59 pm

    Oh dear – and I thought I’d lived in some hot cities! NEVER gets below 40C? sounds pretty hellish to me. Your air conditioning must work pretty hard. A post or two back and you had some beautiful photos of the desert in bloom. The spring looked so beautiful, sad that it just degrades into all the plants scorching, ouch. I liked the comment about the melting book: #KSAsummerproblems, hey?

    Wonder if people wear different coloured abayas in summer? Black is the worst colour for absorbing heat, surely peopel would turn to something a bit more reflective?ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 23, 2012 - 7:19 pm

      Yunnan-the air conditioners struggle to keep up, I had to adjust them all the time and still some of them keep over heating and water starts dripping out..

      There is a time in the hottest months that temperatures, at least inside the city don’t seem to fluctuate much from the daytime 50’s to night time 40’s..that’s what I call a frying pan!

      No they still wear black :)ReplyCancel

  • FarooqMay 23, 2012 - 9:58 pm

    The last couple of days the weather change has been drastic. I think tuesday max was 42 then wednesday was 36. Now thats a big change over a few hours. Wedneday morning when I stepped out to go to work, I found the weather to be very pleasant. Had to remind myself that it was all relative :-)ReplyCancel

    • NoorMay 23, 2012 - 11:54 pm

      Blame it on the greenhouse effect scareyReplyCancel

  • avaMay 24, 2012 - 10:17 am

    Oh wow. 36c summer here in the tropics is already sweaty pits paradise. 40-50c would be murder. Are umbrellas popular there? When my family visited my dad in ksa when I was a kid, we also rarely went out during daytime. I thought the suspended neon lights/billboards were powered by magic. I found out the truth when we went out for a daytime drive. Haha.ReplyCancel

    • LaylahMay 25, 2012 - 10:50 pm

      ava-true that in the tropics 50c would be suicidal to go out! Thankfully in Riyadh it’s very dry so more tolerable. It never gets that 50 in Jeddah!ReplyCancel

    • avaMay 26, 2012 - 7:10 am

      Yes to bikinis fosure!! if I end up in Dammam, I would most def customize an abaya with strategically placed slits for myself. But the thought of being fully covered in black+summer is giving me claustro anxiety. I’ll prolly get used to it…eventually, hopefully ;)ReplyCancel

  • NabilaMay 24, 2012 - 10:57 am

    We have 30 C here in Norway and I feel awfull. But still, tights under abaya is a huge must. :D Overhead-abaya is wonderfull in the heat.ReplyCancel

  • Karen KingMay 24, 2012 - 11:03 am

    It’s 50 here, too. 50F that is…ReplyCancel

  • AnonymousMay 25, 2012 - 10:51 am

    That is insane weather! I was in Spain during the 2003 huge heat wave….40 degree Celcius weather every day of the summer and I thought I was going to die. 50 degrees is just nuts!!! Keep hydrated! Francesca from OttawaReplyCancel

  • safMay 31, 2012 - 7:22 am

    I was inspired by your post and tried bikini-under-abaya – very cooling indeed!ReplyCancel

    • SaraMay 27, 2014 - 9:16 pm

      I used to wear nothing! very coolReplyCancel

  • AnonymousJune 1, 2012 - 8:45 am

    i enjoyed reading all your posts ! you really have a gift in describing / writing stories ! you should open a twitter account if you want to be more famous . keep going :) >ReplyCancel

  • Omani Princess (not Omani...yet)June 2, 2012 - 12:47 am

    Same here in Muscat too, but at least we’ve got the mountains and monsoon for the weekends:)ReplyCancel

  • Sarfraz AbbasiOctober 10, 2012 - 3:20 pm

    Reading above im just glad the summmer is over here in riyadh. its a balmy 36C at 7pm, it just feels very pleasant and wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • Iggy PickleMay 24, 2013 - 1:44 pm

    Sounds almost like Fresno, California, where it cools down to 107F at night…ReplyCancel

  • RachelJune 15, 2014 - 4:16 am

    I live in South Australia, which has similar summer weather but not for as long (at worst, such weather will last two or three weeks and then we have a break for a couple of days, and it gets cooler in winter and rains a little). In primary school we used to dare each other to put their hands on the ashphalt or drain pipe to see how long they lasted, or ‘brand’ each other with seat belt buckles. I even tried frying an egg on the slippery-dip once and it worked. I have too many memories of waiting at the bus stop at 7am and noticing that the thermometer reads 42* or something similar.
    Often I get asked here how I can stand to wear long dresses and a headscarf in the heat but the truth is it’s cooler (I say it creates my own personal breeze) and I think a lot of women know this because long flowing skirts and sundresses are common in summer.
    I think a dry heat is better but maybe it’s just because it’s what I’m used to. I’ve been to Singapore and to Queensland and I find the humidity there very difficult to deal with.ReplyCancel

  • […] The hot season (summer) From around May up until October the mercury will not drop below +40c. This season is when most people want to leave the country. The dry heat might rise up to +50c degrees in the worst months and typically the nights will not bring much relief to the scorching heat. Check out this post to find out what happens when summer has arrived in Saudi Arabia. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] no doubt that summer is here to stay. It’s getting hotter by the day with recorded temperatures reaching almost 50C! Lots […]ReplyCancel

  • […] –Baby wipes. I’ve noticed you have a hard time in the heat, well here in Riyadh we’re currently at about + 42c ( about 120 F). So once you step out of the Air-force One, you’ll get this experience of stepping into a convection oven. You know the kind that blows hot air around. With baby-wipes at hand you’ll totally feel like you’re winning.  Some other fun stuff that happens in Saudi when summer rolls around find out here. […]ReplyCancel

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