Despite being known for extreme heat, both Dubai and Abu Dhabi enjoy six months of beautiful cool weather. Surprise!
While these two cities basically have two seasons – summer followed by thermonuclear summer – they also have half a year of very pleasant weather. The kind of weather no one would ever complain about no matter what happens the other six months. But you rarely hear about it, because it really isn’t much fun to complain about nice weather, is it?
November in Abu Dhabi is a wonderful time to enjoy Shisha with friends, particularly at night when the temperature falls to a comfortable 60 degrees (Fahrenheit).
Shisha is a traditional Arabic water pipe used for smoking flavored tobacco. It’s a fairly simple device. A burning chock of apple flavored tobacco fills an enclosed chamber with smoke. The smoker draws deeply on the mouthpiece pulling the flavored smoke over a basin of water (filter), where it moistens the smoke to give it a heavier flavor. You get hot, flavored tobacco with a little water vapor. Obviously, hot air hitting your lungs feels better on a cool night than it does on a hot one!
It was by the pool at the Le Royal Meridian Hotel, that my friend Yahia and I enjoyed Shisha time with the traditional Arabic music playing in the background. It was like going back to the time of The Arabian Nights* where great storytelling continued deep into the night.
Yahia told me a popular local tale about the apple. Isaac Newton was so inspired by the apple that it led him to discover the First Law of Gravity. Steve Jobs was so inspired that he founded Apple Computers, makers of the Mac, iPhone and iPad. The Arabians were so inspired by the apple that they invented the Shisha to inhale the apple to their very core.
Both Yahia and I had traveled long distances to attend the ADIPEC conference in Abu Dhabi, so we shared our sentiments about having to travel so much.
“You know travel makes people younger,” Yahia said.
I was a little bit surprised.
“Travel makes people tired,” I reminded him.
“True. But when you travel your brain and body receive all kinds of stimuli,” he said. “Your mind keeps you young.”
His words made me think. We read about other people’s lives in other places, but when we close the book, it’s over. To truly appreciate a different lifestyle we must immerse ourselves in it. Everything is brand new and we are reborn like a baby. When we open our minds to new things, we see, hear, feel and experience things we may be closed to back home. I wondered how many times had I passed by something of extreme beauty or interest and totally missed it because I was not open to a new adventure.
I had to agree with my friend. Travel made me younger. I would bring that youthful spirit with me wherever I went from now on, whether it was traveling far away or in my own neighborhood. Life would not pass me by again.
We continued our chat into the night, enjoying the cool breeze from the nearby Persian Gulf. And in keeping with the spirit of people enjoying Shisha – who do never talk about business – I won’t mention our drilling software this time or about how amazing it is in saving you so much time that you will have more time for Shisha!
* The Arabian Nights (a.k.a. One Thousand and One Nights) is about a Persian king, Sharyar, who finds out his wife has been unfaithful and is deeply hurt by it, so he has her executed. But he is lonely so every night he brings a virgin to his bed. Each morning he executes the virgin so she won’t be able to betray him. After killing all the virgins in his kingdom, the king only had one left – the daughter of one of his most trusted servants. His servant’s daughter, Scheherazade, agrees be his wife because she has a clever plan. Each night she tells the king a new story but doesn’t tell him the ending so he will have to keep her alive to hear the ending. This goes on for 1,001 nights. Some familiar stories in the book include, The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor, Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp and Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves.