So here I am in Muscat, Oman and I am going to talk about two of my favourite topics:
Health and Safety and toilets.
I can hear you groaning – but bear with me.
On the work front I am having an extremely frustrating time. I won’t go into that now but I will tell you about the toilets at the office I am working at.
They are clean and fresh but adorned with laminated Health and Safety posters advising people about how to wash your hands and warning about the dangers of spreading germs.
However, one of these posters has actually proved quite useful. Let me tell you why.
As you can probably imagine, Oman is a very hot country. At the moment it is quite bearable – a cool 28 °C – though earlier this week it crept up to 33 °C. I have heard a number of horror stories about exactly how hot it can get in the summer with temperatures reaching the dizzy heights of 45 to 50 °C. If that isn’t bad enough, Oman is also a very humid country which means the temperature and humidity combine to make life very unpleasant for locals and visitors alike.
All this means that we have the exact reverse of the UK when it comes to how to deal with the unpleasant weather.
In the UK, during winter, our cars are covered in frost and ice, so we start our cars, turn the heating up full blast and spend quite a few minutes de-icing the car. We then sometimes have to drive in gloves because the steering wheel is too cold.
Also, because it is cold and wet and miserable outside, we tend to stay indoors more in our lovely warm, heated and cosy homes. We rely heavily on our boilers, central heating and gas fires to keep us warm.
In Oman it is the complete opposite. In the summer, it is so hot outside that people rush out and start their cars, removing the heat deflectors from their windscreens and switching on their air conditioning up to full blast to turn their cars into mobile fridges. Sometimes the steering wheel is so hot that they have to wear gloves to drive until the car has cooled down.
Because it is so hot and humid outside, the people stay indoors in their cool and comfortable homes. They rely heavily on their air-conditioning to keep them cool.
I’ve heard stories about people walking for a few minutes outside and becoming absolutely drenched in sweat.
Which leads me back to the toilet poster.
Because it gets so hot and sweaty here, there is a very good chance of becoming dehydrated. The poster informs you that you must drink plenty of water and that you can tell exactly how dehydrated you are by the colour of your pee. And if you are not sure of that, there is a colour chart to show you.
Being a man it is easy to look down and see the hue of you urine. I would imagine that women have to wait until they have finished.
Once again, in order to bring this useful information to you, dear reader, I have risked humiliation and some very awkward questions to show you the colour chart.
Yes – that’s right. I have taken my camera into the Gents once more and taken a photo of it.
Here it is.
If you can’t read the catchy slogan – it says:
Healthy pee is 1 to 3. 4 to 8 you must hydrate.
And for once I find this useful because I am certainly not used to the temperatures.
Of course, the other posters that tell us exactly how to wash, lather and dry our hands are utterly ridiculous and an insult to those of us who have common sense.
I am here for a further two weeks and have to return again in April for another week. I just hope that I am not asked to come back when the temperature and humidity are unbearable.
I don’t want to have to check the colour chart in every toilet I visit.
And I am sure you are curious about whether I am hydrated or not.
Yes I am – falling comfortably in the 1 to 3 range.
I’ll bet you’re relieved to hear that, aren’t you?