Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Sand Storm

I have been told that there is an actual sand storm season here, but I am not sure if we’re in it or not. But I can say that it’s an awesome sight to behold.

Baghdad is usually a fairly smoggy city. Add to this the smoke from several piles of burning garbage and at least one of two car bombs per day and you get the idea that a clear view over here is a rare event. But yesterday I could actually taste it coming – like the playground dirt you used to get in your mouth when wrestling as kids. Or the dust when you slam shut an very old book. In fact, you can even feel it in your lungs, which is a slightly claustrophobic sense.

The wall of sand came from the East. At first I couldn’t see downtown Baghdad, and then I couldn’t see Baghdad at all. From afar it looked like a menacing brown cloud, but as it edged closer I could see it was a wall with a very distinct demark between those areas already enveloped and those about to be. It continued to advance until I could not even see the hill, and then the east wall, or even my trailer. It was almost like the first snowfall of the year, where everyone in the office goes to the window to take a look, except the first snowfall always brings a smile to my lips and thoughts of Christmas. This time I merely wondered if this would mean a quiet night for a change (it didn’t).

Well, far be it from me to let a little sand in the eyes stop me from going out. Luckily, it was really more of a dust storm than a “sand” storm, because after two minutes I could only imagine how uncomfortable it would be to be pelted in the eyeballs by those little grains of sand. As it was, I was out about six minutes and when I arrived at my destination I was all one color, covered in the gunk. Next time I will wait it out.


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