this blog is cold

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.

I didn't take this. Thanks, whoever you are.

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”:

The little heater that could

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.

It's kind of just like using a gas grill to heat your apartment

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:

I need coffee!! Also, my favorite socks were once sopping and are now not as wet

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.

6 responses to “this blog is cold

  1. You are lucky you had a mom that didn’t turn the furnace on till Thanksgiving when you were a kid. See, she was seasoning you for this adventure. That looks like propane to me and not too safe but it seems to do the job. It’s starting to get warm here (25-30). March is just around the corner. Stay warm and stay safe Brad.
    JQ & Crew

  2. Thanksgiving, JQ?

    We were lucky if the heat was on by Christmas 🙂

  3. Ha! Was it u or Brett that used to sit on the floor register in the kitchen? 🙂

  4. I’d still belly up and get the safer, electrical heater…no?

  5. Wait, is that a picture from this most recent snowfall? We didn’t have any snow stick over here in Webdeh! Very jealous

  6. Also, we use two electric heaters and it’s true that we try not to use them all that much, but our electricity bill only came to 9 JD last month.

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