Racing driver Martin Brundle once described one of his crashes by saying, “I thought the last two barrel rolls were a bit unnecessary. I was already well aware I was having a big accident by then!” This is a little bit like I felt about the heat in Bahrain last week. Now, you don’t need to be a meteorologist to comprehend that August in the Gulf is going to be a tad on the warm side and all of us at Riffa Views who have routinely slogged away in temperatures well into the 40’s have got used to feeling uncomfortably sticky as we go about our work. Last week took this endurance test to an entirely new level.
It started after lunch, as we trooped out of the luxurious air-conditioned comfort of Subway and into the furnace of the 1pm Bahraini sunshine. We could tell it was going to be a long, energy-sapping afternoon. My first task upon returning to site was to stake out the bunker edging for the 11th hole. Being a desert course, this also doubled up as the extent of grassing all along the right edge of this 350-yard par 4. I loaded up four bundles of red stakes and four cans of red spray paint and drove the 300 metres from the site camp to the midpoint of the fairway. I trooped slowly back towards the tee and started to bang in the stakes at regular intervals. Already I could feel my heart begin to pound and perspiration was literally erupting from every pore. My sunglasses quickly became covered in sweat as it ran off my brow and into my eyes, stinging them viciously. Squinting through salty eyelids, I took my glasses off to wipe them clean, but I had nothing dry enough on me to clear the lenses. My bare arms were a slick of perspiration, with the occasional droplet falling to the floor. There was no point wiping my forehead with my arm; both were soaking. My body had sprung a leak!
“Just get this bit done and you can go and cool off”, I told myself. Moving very slowly and with regular breaks to catch my breath, it took another 20 minutes to mark out the rest of the bunker edging. By then, I was literally gagging for a drink and trudged wearily the short distance back to the 4×4 through the desert sand. Opening the door, I caught sight of the temperature gauge on the dashboard and the reason for my struggles became immediately apparent. Located together were two numerals I had only ever thought could exist in tandem on a Heinz beans tin. First….a 5….and then….a…7! 57° Celsius!!! Or if you like it in old money, 134.6° Fahrenheit. That isn’t a temperature, that’s a gas mark!
It’s been a long hot job getting Riffa Views built, but last week took the biscuit. In fact, you could probably cook biscuits in that heat!