Baku Days: Today it is Very Hot “38c feels like 43c”

Wellington Heights, Baku: thank goodness for A/C units!

Now, I am not a person who idly switches on their air-conditioning unit when the temperature rises above 27c [about 80 Fahrenheit in old money] but today is just a bit different. Going out of the apartment to buy some chili powder [for burritos later today] and several bottle of beer [one now, a few later] was like walking into a heated oven or an over-heated sauna. Both of those terms describe a hot day and have lost their meaning through overuse but as a previous resident of Cairo [dirty as well as hot and sweaty] and Namibia [so hot and dry in Summer that the skin flakes off your hands and feet like fish-scales] I can safely say that today in Baku is one of the most hottest and unpleasant I have ever known. One of the most unpleasant because the most unpleasant was one day last Summer, when Sandra and I walked from my cousin’s house on the edge of Lefkosia in Cyprus, in to town when the mercury hit 50c. We nearly ended up suffering from heat exhaustion. I digress…

There are [thank goodness]  five a/c units in the apartment and as I speak they are all on their highest setting, going at full blast. It is though, still not what I would call “fresh” in here. I am though, in the lap of luxury compared to most Azerbaijanis. Think also for a moment about my numerous friends in Peace Corps whose cinder-block or cast-concrete panel homes take on the summer heat like firebricks and of course, none of them have air-conditioning…

Don't go to Fire Mountain today!

Discrete indoor summer nudity [or near nudity] is commonplace among this community but it can still get you in trouble. Two friends of mine were in their garden [surrounded by a two-meter wall] last summer and had taken their shirts off in an attempt to keep cool. Soon afterwards, a neighbour hammered on their door accusing them of flagrant nudity in front of his several daughters. The only way his girls could have seen them was by getting to the highest point in their home and aiming binoculars in the direction of the two young men!

Bakuvians sweat it out during the summer months and many take a bath every week, whether they need one or not. This can make traveling on local buses a fragrant experience. Personally, as someone with a very poor sense of smell, I am grateful for my lot.

Looking out of the 8th floor window of my apartment window at 4pm this afternoon, I can see no one walking the streets. If you did, I think you would melt.

These sort of temperatures will I believe, continue through July and August then start to subside during September. So, as I open yet another bottle of cooling beer, I say cheers to you all living in more moderate climes, roll on winter!

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About stevehollier

Steve Hollier is the editor of AZ Magazine, an English language lifestyle magazine based in Baku, Azerbaijan. He began his career working for a firm of stockbrokers in the City of London then went on to attend the University of Essex where he was awarded an MA in Sociology in 1984. After a career in arts and cultural development work, he became a freelance arts consultant, writer and photographer.
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3 Responses to Baku Days: Today it is Very Hot “38c feels like 43c”

  1. Amy says:

    I went out to get something at the store yesterday at 3pm. It was eerie. Nobody is out on the streets. Don’t worry about us Peace Corps folks, we and our trusty fans can conquer most days. 🙂 Good post!

  2. Hello Steve….Wow I am not sure what to make of all this…i was pressuring my wife to take trip to Baku during the summer….leaving in NYC for the past 15 years I came to realize I can’t tolerate cold winter. You make it sound like summer in Baku is extremely dangerous and unpleasant if I plan to walk around the city. In any case our trip was moved to December, hopefully winter is not as cold as in NYC…Take Care

  3. Aaron says:

    My remedy is to sit as still as possible while having at least one fan, if not two, blowing around me. These days, even leaving the apartment takes a serious force of will and I always have a clear route and destination in mind, so as to not lose time and energy out in the scorching sun. That, and the non-stop ice production I have going on in the tiny little freezer in my fridge.

    That said, the worst part isn’t the heat itself–it’s that the heat is the same sticky, hot, thick heat every day, for days on end. A hot day or two is fine. Two months of this is what makes it excruciating.

    Now, I’m off for a hot cup of tea…

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