slideshow image for Chamsin, the dust storm

Chamsin, the dust storm

Woke up this morning with a heavy head. Before opening my eyes my tongue begins searching in my mouth for the source of the strange taste. It finds sand that has accumulated behind my teeth.

Startled, I open my eyes, blink a few times and rub them clean. I get up and go to my balcony. It's light, but the city beneath me, which usually makes lots of noise, is silent.
No men hitting their canisters of gas or the crying of voices. I don't even hear the honking cars. I search among the buildings for the pointed Cairo tower but can no longer find it. Everything is hidden in a thick, ochre-brown fog. I feel a drop on my shoulder, just as brown and thick as the air from which it has fallen. Then a few more fat drops of mud. I look forward to being cooled in this dusty heat, but before that happens the rain stops, the drops having made everything even filthier than it already was.
Drift sand is a cloud of the smallest particles imaginable. The sun shines through and looks like a faint variation of itself. Still that dry, sluggish taste in my mouth. When I turn around and walk into the room, I notice that my feet have left prints on the floor. Everything in my apartment is covered with a thin layer of dust.
I never knew that besides rain, snow, fog and hail, there was something else that can come from the sky.



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