JEDDAH — I used to always make fun of Saudis who were wealthy enough to escape the blistering summer heat of Arabia. But on this trip back to Saudi Arabia, I finally realized why they do it: They don't want to have the horrible headaches that the unrelenting heat produces.
Yesterday morning, I foolishly decided to walk from the Red Sea Palace Hotel to the Corniche Center and then on to the Mahmal Shopping Center. The walk only took five minutes, but with the temperature in the 40s, that was enough to leave me with a blazing headache that lasted the whole day.
I told my friend Thiago before I left Brazil on this trip that I always got diarrhea when I lived in Saudi, and he said that it was probably because of the combination of extreme heat of the outdoors and the extreme cold of air-conditioning in cars and buildings. He's probably right.
My friend Angelo kindly gave me two Advils, which helped turn my headache into a dull throb, but I was still left feeling slightly unwell the whole day.
Now that I think about it, I was a Panadol addict when I lived in Jeddah. I had constant headaches the whole year round, as did my friend Marvin. We used to buy boxes of the stuff in all of its variations: Extra, long-lasting, for sinuses, sleep-inducing, you name it, we popped it!
When I arrived in Jeddah on this trip I sent messages to various Saudi friends that I was in town and wanted to see them. One told me that she was in Los Angeles doing a summer course, another said she was in London and the other friend's mobile was shut off. Good for them, they'll certainly be healthier and headache-free far from the heat of Arabia.