The desert climate of El Gouna, Egypt is cold at night in winter. The sun sets remarkably early here in late December, before 5PM; and it gets dark quick once it slips over the mountains.
Then you get 13 hours of darkness, for the sun will not rise again till 6am.
The temperature plummets, once the sun sets. Today at dawn it was 61F, or 16C. This may not seem so bad in places where it is already snowing, but there is no central heating here. There have been several nights already in the mid 50s.
No fireplace, or firewood.
I suppose you could buy an electric heater, but I don’t like them, and am sure the electricity cost would go through the roof if I had heaters on all night.
The winter desert cold is a peculiar sort of cold. It is an unexpectedly damp, bone chilling cold; the humidity is 65 per cent today; El Gouna is by the sea.
There is no insulation in the walls, no system of solar panels on the roof to warm the house during the night, and windows that do always protect against the wind.
Many houses in El Gouna have this sort of yellowish polished stone floor surfacing. While these are excellent in the summer, no doubt, they do add to the considerable coldness in the house in winter.
No place in the house is actually warm during the day, unless you open the large front door that faces east and let the morning sun in.
As a result of it being so cold at night, I have to wrap myself with two thick blankets when I watch TV at night. The only good thing is that this cold seems to have put the mozzies into hibernation.
It is warm and beautiful during the day, in the mid 70s usually, but the pool isn’t heated, so I have not been able to swim in it since arriving here two weeks ago. Since I am leaving in March, I will probably never get that opportunity, unless I return in October to this place.
This idea has been on my mind for some time.
I truly am aghast at returning to the United States around April, and am quite happy here being far away from the orange circus.
Now that my wife is arriving on Saturday, I shall not be quite as isolated. I hope the cold and long nights will not bother her too much.
Depending on how things pan out in the months ahead, there are decisions that need to be made, hard ones, with serious consequences, for me and my family.
So, as I look ahead, will 2018 be the year when I say goodbye to a country I have lived in for half a century?
I am going to Cairo in a couple of hours and when I return on Saturday, the good news is that I shall no longer be alone in the cold nights of Egypt’s Eastern Desert on the Red Sea.