You can feel how hot it is, how dusty the road is, how unrelenting the sun is. It’s oppressive. The hot imagery is contrasted with the Don getting out of the bath, the priest seeing his body, and the water flowing off of him like all the famous European rivers.
From the very beginning I’ve sympathized with the Don who is so conscience of his dwindling power and each day’s loss of prestige. He’s old now.