Of inverted water taps

At the outset, I am on vacation at Doha with my parents. This is summer, and a long vacation awaits me!

Well, so here I was, at home and pretty exhausted from the 12 hour flight from Washington DC, so I did the natural thing – I hit the showers. I opened both the cold and hot water taps to adjust the water temperature, and quickly realised that the water taps were inverted, i.e. the usual ‘cold’ tap gave warm water, and the usual ‘hot’ tap spewed cold water (‘cold’ on the right, ‘hot’ on the left, remember?). I was a bit surprised, because as far as I know Qatari or Arabic conventions do not invert water taps, and anyway I have been here before and found the normal configuration.

The mystery was quickly resolved, though, when I asked dad, and indeed, I should have realized it myself from my past ‘Arab’ experiences. The taps weren’t actually reversed – the cold water was still for ‘cold’ water, and the hot water for the hot. Only, while the hot water is fed through an in-house geyser, in which it is stored, and then fed to the tap, the cold water is stored on the roof and fed directly. The rest is done by the local climate and geyser requirements. The desert sun heats the water to render the ‘cold’ water extremely warm, in fact warm enough to make it unsuitable for use by itself. On the other hand, the geyser is seldom turned on as it the water is warm anyway. So effectively the taps are reversed, even after sundown, with the cold tap spewing hot water, and the hot water giving cool, soothing drops.

Another oddity of life in Qatar!

(Well, I must mention that something similar also happens quite often in the summer in my home town of Kolkata – only there isn’t any question of inverted taps, nor any in-house geyser to automatically store and cool some water down – you must do that manually an hour before you plan to use any water at all!!)

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