The “oven bake” Effect

Libya
If you’ve ever been to a hot (i mean HOT) country then you know this “oven bake” effect i’m talking about. It’s obviously not the scientific way to describe the heat you can feel when you are in a country where temperatures can go over 40 degrees Celsius but that’s the closest thing i can think of. How to deal with intense heat in countries such as Libya? Read on i have a few tips and advice…

The Oven Bake Effect 
heat summer libyaThis is what i call that intense heat wave that slaps you in the face when you step outside during the summer in hot countries, just like when you open your oven after it’s been on full heat for some time. Only in this case YOU are in the oven.

Today in Zawia, we had that first heat wave of the year. I’ve already told you guys it is summer in Libya but this is more than summer heat, this is desert heat. Strong wind coming straight from the desert, bringing sand and barely breathable air from the Sahara Desert. Most people find it too hot and uncomfortable but i just love it. It’s like being in a sauna and i can’t get enough of it.

But if you’re not like me there are a few things you can do to protect yourself against the heat:

* Dress up, not down: sounds like i’m talking crazy but i’m not. When the heat is really intense it’s better to cover your skin than expose it the sun, believe me. Wear some very light cotton clothing and i insist on cotton, anything else will just stick to your skin and become very uncomfortably itchy. (Click HERE to read about What to Wear in Libya)

* Water: no matter where you go, carry a bottle of water with you at all times, especially if you’re on the road or away from home from some time. In Libya, you can stop anywhere and you’ll find a place to buy fresh water. All the shops have huge stocks of fresh water during the summer but it’s always better to have one in your bag.

* Wipes and deodorant: in Libya when it is hot, with the wind and the sand, your hands always feel dirty and sticky so i always carry a small bottle of deodorant with me to clean my hands. The deodorant spray is very good to get rid of the sand and dust while making you feel fresh in the same time.

* Stay indoors: again i’m talking crazy… if you’re on holiday in a hot country you probably don’t want to stay indoors but it might be safer though. And remember in hot countries, everything shut down during the hottest hours of the day and reopens late afternoon until late into the night so you won’t really be missing anything.

* Take hot showers: most people run to a cold shower when they feel too hot but that’s a mistake. It certainly cools you down and it feels nice but then you’ll be sweating like crazy as soon as you step out of the bathroom. The key is too keep your body temperature as close as possible to the air temperature so you don’t feel the heat. It is hard at first but when you get used to it, you’ll be feel OK even in very hot weather. This is particularly good if you plan to stay in a hot country for a long time. Better get used to it than suffer the whole time.

27 degree Celsius in March 2014 – it can easily reach over 40

There is obviously the option of using the AC when indoors and this would certainly help bring the temperature down to an acceptable level but i simply don’t like them. First of all i don’t see the point of being in a hot country if you want to be cold.

Second of all, people here use the AC to extremes, to the point where you enter a shop and you feel COLD, not a nice and fresh cool, but totally COLD. This is a problem in itself since the difference of temperature between in and outdoor is so big that you’ll get strong headaches, you’ll feel even hotter when you step outside and you’ll even catch a cold. I’m serious, happened to all of us last year, the first months of the summer we all had runny noses!

Finally if you have to be on the road, take plenty precautions, cover the windows with a wet cloth, keep a small cooler in the back with plenty water. If you travel with children avoid the mid day hours, it is simply too hot, prefer early morning or late evening when it is cooler.

A few tips to keep you and your children cool when you travel:
* seat the children at the back on a wet bath towel
* use baby wipes to freshen up from time to time
* give them plenty of water to drink
* stop often (if possible)

The heat in Libya is simply unavoidable, it’s better to live with it than trying to fight it. I think it is one of the things you must adapt to. Once you do you’ll be able to enjoy the long summer without too much discomfort.

As for me i’m in my element now, i just love the heat, no matter what. I do suffer from it as well but i always remember the 10 years of bad weather in the UK and that helps me to take any heat Libya can throw at me.

5 thoughts on “The “oven bake” Effect

  1. Basing on your expat life experience, did you find Libya hotter than Saudi Arabia ? In which country between these two ones, did you feel the most extreme heat ? Both Arab nations are mostly widespread stretches of barren desert landscape, and I would like to go in this part of the world during the peak of summer in order to discover their cultures, their lifestyle, their climate, their environment so, please, could ýou tell me how hot is Libya compared to Saudi Arabia, and conversely ?

    1. Hi first of all you have to understand that both Libya and Saudi are vast countries so the weather will differ from one place to the next. But i\’d say that the hottest place in KSA would be just as hot as the hottest place in Libya where temperatures can reach over 50 degrees Celsius during the summer. As for the winter cities along the coast like Jeddah have no winter to speak of while in Libya temperatures will drop low enough to have some kind of mild winter.

      1. Yeah, you’re right. Libya and Saudi Arabia may be vast but much of their land is experiencing a hot desert climate, except the western part of Libya’s Mediterranean coast as in Tripoli, Misurata, Zawiya…

        I rather talked about your feeling and your experience of such extremes climatic conditions, especially during summer.

        Do Libya’s deserts usually feel hotter and drier from June to September than Saudi’s ones ? What is the approximate average high temperature in the shade for July for a common location in Libya’s desert area, around 40°C, 45°C or rather 50°C ? What about Saudi Arabia ? Thanks a lot for replying.

        1. It is hard to give you exact temperatures based on my own experience because I haven\’t been to the hottest places in the summer. In KSA Riyadh is famous for temperatures over 50 degrees Celsius in the summer but I am in Jeddah were temperatures stay below 45 due to the sea. On the Libyan cost it will stay below 45 as well. In the Libyan desert I don\’t know I haven\’t been there especially as at the time (not sure now) there were some very serious safety issues with traveling in the south of the country. Sorry I can\’t help more. If you do travel there maybe you can tell us about your experience.

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