December and January in the Hejaz region of Arabia are when the storms come. Not just any storm, but sandstorms to be more specific.
The sandstorm appears suddenly. I recoil a little, anticipating the gritty taste of sand grains in my mouth, and the thick layer of dust that it will leave in my apartment, despite all the windows being well shut. Somehow the pesky sand finds ways of entering that even I never thought possible.
I’ve often thought of these sandstorms, as I now live in a more temperate climate that doesn’t have them. Instead, I must now fear hurricanes and flooding.
The winds howled as I would drive to work quickly, trying to outrun the incoming storm, and the inevitable reddish brownout that reduced visibility to zero.
Watching a blockbuster movie, a scene filmed in Dubai features a sandstorm that envelopes the city and the world’s tallest building, a testament of just how helpless and small we are in the face of Mother Nature.
The changing atmospheric pressure that the storms bring setoff migraines in some of my colleagues at work, but the cooler temperatures are a relief.
“What a mess the storm left my apartment,” I text my Bangladeshi cleaner, asking him to come as soon as possible to wipe away the muddy sand covering my windows and tabletops like a second skin.