Friday, April 10, 2015

Sandstorms, instead of snowstorms....

In a few days it is going to be 102 degrees here in Doha, Qatar. Yikes, wait! It is only the beginning of April, and the sun is heating up, causing the ground water to form puffy clouds. With no water to hold the dirt and sand in place, the Arabian winds have been kicking up the sand for hundreds of miles. Everywhere there is a dusting of a coarse, beige film. One friend comically said a few days ago, "I thought I already knew brown, taupe, but the world just got a lot more beige around here." There was no shield or protection from the grainy, gritty billows moving into the Middle East this week. The sand funneled into every crevice, window, and eyelash.

Although there was much cleaning up to do after the snowstorm, my sons both agreed it was worth it to have a day off from school--almost like snow closings in St. Louis.

In the seven months I have lived here, I have seen spiraling sand many times, but never like the storm we had last week--even enough to get school cancelled. Yep, as we enviously watched the news this winter with the snow closings from our old schools in St. Louis, Missouri, we were missing our celebratory snow days (such great memories of having your entire day shifted from a rushing routine to a sledding/movie day). But instead we got to experience "a sand closing"--with a dark, bleak fog surrounding you in every direction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdtpkYZeV00

Everyone had masks and scarves to try to cover up a little from the sandstorm.

The only bother I have with sandstorms vs snowstorms is that sand drifts in your house; snowflakes do not pile in your kitchen and living room. I have heard from expats who have lived here over a decade that this is the first time school has ever closed because of a sand storm. I guess there is one consolation for any sand in our ears and eyes: we got to experience a little Qatar history this week.

Time to go sledding on the sand dunes again....