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44 Degrees Celsius!

September 5, 2008

It is Friday and all is well!

My wife called from Iraq a couple of hours ago. It is 44 degrees Celsius still down there. Pooh!

It is funny. When I worked in Iraq between 2003 and 2006 the temperature differed quiet dramatically over the year. The middle and the south of the country are of course hotter in general.

We lived outside a small city called Salahaddin up in the mountains about 40 minutes driving by car from Erbil the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Our house was located about 1500 meter above the sea level with a magnificent view two or three mountain ridges away. In the winter the snow could very well be over one meter deep and then our dog “Spike” a Parson Jack Russell went under cover nick named “Gorga Spi” which means “The White Wolf” in Kurdish. At that time of the year January to late February it could be quiet harsh conditions and well 5-15 Celsius degrees below zero.

The first year I drove a Mercedes E320 a really nice comfortable car on summer roads but a catastrophe in the winter. In Sweden where I come from we use special studded tyres in the winter but in Iraq they don´t even sell them unfortunately.

One day we were caught in half meter deep snow. No shovel! Fortunately it was near our home and we found a cutting board (the plastic ones with a grip) and cut ourselves out of the snow masses.

At that time 2004, we decided to change car and plates often for security reasons. But the winter really sucked. The second car was a BMW 745i with a V8 but it was also heavy and “low”. In the summer yes. It was glued to the roads but in the winter, my God. At last we drove a Toyota Landcruiser 4500 EFI. A tiger and a dream in all respects! “Spike” loved it!

In the north temperature on the flatland is great and a lots of sun between September and April/May. You have about six month with great weather conditions. Even when it was snowing heavily in the mountains where we lived it was sunny, no snow and 15-20 Celsius in Erbil 40 minutes away. But after May when it normally stops raining all over the country the temperature starts to rise and rise and rise. In the end of July it is nearly unbearable. I think the hottest day was 53 or 54 degrees Celsius. Such days you burn your hands on the steering wheel and the thermometer explodes!

 Now I envy my wife. She is going to have a very nice time, a lot of sun and slowly it will be more and more comfortable down there. Here in Stockholm it will be colder, more rain, windy and a little colder until the first snowflakes will start to fall in late October or in the beginning of November.

But the springtime is nearly the same in Sweden and Iraq.