Irish people love to talk weather-talk. ‘Fine day’ or ‘soft day’ are often conversation openers, and are very acceptable replacements for ‘hello’ or ‘howrya’.
The Irish in Qatar sure had a lot to talk about last Saturday.
Saturday last witnessed an entire year’s average rainfall of approx 75mm in a torrential 6 hours, replete with ear-shattering thunder and a most impressive display of forked lightning. And like all countries of the Arabian Gulf where such weather is a rarity, when heavy rains arrive, the roads and road drainage systems of Qatar are unable to cope. Minor roads in particular often have low-lying sections (many of them) with no drainage outlets, or sand-clogged drainage outlets, so deep flooding is the order of the day. Cars regularly get stuck or abandoned.
MB was stuck in almost-static heavy traffic in the midst of it all when his car lost all power for a minute or two, except for the merciful fact that the engine did not cut out and thankfully kept ticking over. Thankfully also, this happened when the traffic was actually static. The same thing happened another five or six times during the 1.5-hour journey, a journey that normally takes 10 minutes. But each time the car lost power, it regained power moments or minutes later, and moved on.
It was real heart-in-the-mouth stuff on MB’s journey back to the office, assuming that the car would konk out at any moment and thousands of cars would start tooting their angry toots at MB, who had already decided that waving and smiling would be his response.
Today, five days later, some minor watery evidence of last Saturday’s biblical event is still evident, and MB’s car engine just doesn’t sound so healthy each morning when it starts. A visit to the car doctor is on the agenda in the coming days.