Let’s warm it up a bit!
I believe that when many people unaffiliated with the Middle East conjure up a mental picture of it, they see arid deserts, maybe an oasis here and there, a bunch of camels, and dark men in turbans. This isn’t a post listing and breaking all the stereotypes of the Middle East. This post will address just one of them: the weather, and more specifically, the temperature.
Jordan is a desert. It’s the fourth water-poor country in the world, according to some documentary I watched here a couple of months ago. There is a lot of sand. There are cacti and little scrubby greens gripping pebbles hoping to eke out an existence. Despite this desert, I am freezing my toes off at the moment. It is snowing outside, has been since I woke up, and should be snowing until two days from now.
My apartment is not outfitted with central heating. This is pretty typical in this city, from what I can tell, and is way cheaper than having diesel pumped into a storage tank atop your roof, which is required for one form of central heating. The Japanese student across the hall from me started using his electrical heater once it got cold. His electricity bill went from ~15JD to 68JD for the month. I, fortunately, have a gas “souba”:
This little guy is fueled with a gas tank. I’m not sure what kind of gas it is. I’m assuming propane? Natural? I actually have no idea. It needs replacing every couple of weeks and costs about ten bucks.
A few random times a day, you’ll hear this death-knell of a melody announcing the gas truck’s presence. It’s so lovely that a pair of artists banded together to try to change it: The Gas Car Project. When it passes in front of your house, you lean out your window and scream GHAAAAAZZZZZZ!!!! and hope they hear you. I hollered at someone earlier today, and I think he gave me the hand-sign equivalent of “ha RIGHT! Look at that hill you live on top of, and look at all this snow. LOL good luck!”
Sometimes after the shower I put it on 2 or maybe even 3 and sit in front of it while I fully dry out. I always turn it off at night, and sometimes, when I am out of kitchen stove gas, I need to improvise:
Our building is insulated in such a way that I swear to God when I return home from school my apartment is always colder than the outside. My souba is such a relief that I try not to think about it blowing up, or carbon monoxide poisoning, or anything of the like. I look forward to April.