One topic I didn't write much about this summer was the intense heat here in Baghdad. The average daily highs were around 120, so that even the short walk from the Palace to the Dining Facility makes you break out in a sweat. When the breeze blew, it didn't bring relief, but rather felt like you were walking into an industrial sized hairdryer. The worst was when I wore my glasses, which served as a convection device, and trapped the hot air in front of my eyeballs. It was so hot that even on days off I wouldn't go to the Palace Pool, since all you did was literally bake under the oppressive sun (like the episode of "Seinfeld" were Kramer applies butter before sunbathing, falls asleep, and literally cooks himself).
At least I had the option of retreating to the air conditioning in my office or my trailer. I can't begin to imagine how bad it must have been for guys in the field, forced to be outside for hours at a stretch, wearing full body armor and battle gear.
But in the last week or two, the heat has broken. The high yesterday was 102 degrees, and it actually felt pleasant outside. The mornings and evenings are cool now, and consequently one sees a lot more joggers dashing through the Palace complex. I know there is nothing profound about the change in seasons, but it is strange to be so relieved that the temperature is suddenly "only" 100 degrees again.