Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Egypt: Sand or Dust?


Contrary to popular belief, Egypt doesn't have "sand" dunes or any type of the granular sand we usually see on seashores.  Egypt's deserts are made of a very fine dirt, resembling dust.  Like the 1930s Dust Bowl in America when the dirt was so light it could be carried on the wind across hundreds of miles, Egypt's duststorms can reach across the Red Sea and into neighboring Middle Eastern nations.

Egyptian duststorm blowing east across the Red Sea into Saudi Arabia.


When there's an actual duststorm (which happens about once a year), the dust is so thick outside that you can barely breathe and visibility is cut to about thirty yards.  Everyone stays inside, but the dust sneaks under doors and coats the nearby floor within hours.

Cairo as a duststorm begins to move in.


Even when there isn't a duststorm, the constant wind blows the fine dust through every crack and crevice in an apartment.  It's a housekeeping nightmare. 
  • In one day, the dust isn't visible but if you run your finger on a floor or table, the beige dust will coat your fingertip.
  • After two days, you can see the dull coating on furniture and floors.
  • After five days, the dust is so thick you can write your name in it.
  • Within two weeks, the dust covers floors, counters, furniture, mirrors, everything so thickly it looks like an attic where no one's been, much less cleaned, in years. 
  
I'm not a great housekeeper to begin with, and the dust is a very determined foe, so it usually wins!  


40 comments:

Sean McLachlan said...

One of my most vivid travel memories was camping out in the western desert under a full moon. With the sand (sorry, dust) dunes glowing white in the moonlight, I felt as if I were on the moon itself! Simply beautiful.

tfwalsh said...

Does not sound fun to clean up...Though from the pictures, the sand storms look amazing. Would not want to be in one.

Suze said...

Lex, those images are astounding -- and your descriptions really bring it home. I think you should take a free pass on 'dusting' as often as you can. It's part of the charm of where you live!

Nickie said...

That sandstorm picture is eerie -- I love the way the sky glows orange.

But it seriously sounds like a nightmare for cleaning. I can barely keep up with my laundry. I think my house would have a foot of dust on the floor, lol.

Stephen Hayes said...

And to think that people have lived in this part of the world for thousands of years, enduring this dust. It's surprising that people here haven't evolved to have thick eyelashes like camels as protection from all this dust. But I've never been to Egypt so maybe they do have longer eyelashes. A very interesting post.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

Oh that sounds horrible. I'm glad I don't live in Egypt.

Kate Larkindale said...

Gah! My house would be full of dust all the time. I only clean once a week at the most. I hate housework.

D.G. Hudson said...

All that sand would bother me, and the dryness. The stark beauty of the desert belies its dangers. Eerie photo, looks like a good start for a story.

On the west coast of Canada, we have fog like London and San Fran. The dampness gets in our bones, but not in our homes!

Enjoyed this post Lexa.

Elise Fallson said...

Love the pics Lexa. I don't remember the sand storms when I lived in Jordan, but then again I was really young. I do remember the miniature sand tornadoes we used to see while driving on the road to Amman. Those were fun. (:

Patsy said...

We visited the pyramids the day after a sand/dust storm and there was still sand in the air - has to be very fine for that to happen as gritty sand would fall very quickly.

Sherry Ellis said...

Yeah, not a fun cleanup!

Romance Book Haven said...

I've always been intrigued by Cairo, yet to look at this photo, wow! The wrath of nature!

I have highlighted a new publisher and you are welcome to come by as they are inviting aspiring writers to ask their submission questions!

Nas

L.G.Smith said...

Wow, that would be kind of scary to have a dust storm so bad you couldn't breathe. I lived in western Nebraska for awhile and that was bad enough. :p Really, the wind never stopped blowing the dirt around. You would see a cloud of dirt sail by like a flock of birds or something.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wouldn't even try to dust until it was all over with. (I'm just ambitiously lazy that way.)

D.S taylor said...

sounds like a biblical plague!

Georgina Morales said...

I lived in Spain (Valencia) for 2 years when I was on my early teens and I remember we had a dust storm coming from Egypt. I don't remember what they called it specifically, but I do remember that while everyone closed their windows to protect themselves from the heat and dust, we were the only ones opening every window and door, trying to get any current of air into our apartment. Many years later I was fortunate enough to experience a dust storm while visiting the Pyramids. I mean fortunate because I had never experienced the pain of the tinniest of rock particles hitting every exposed bit of my skin. Quite the experience, indeed, and it gave me a whole new perspective and respect for the people who braves to dessert and comes on top.

Kelly Hashway said...

Eek, that sounds like an unbeatable foe!

Ella said...

Wow, that reminds me of going to camp! There was no way, not to have sand under foot!
It sounds like the Sandman has cursed you...lol
Might be a fun book idea, right?! ;D

Cathy Keaton said...

I'd be miserable if I were you having to dust so often. Wow. I HATE dusting with a passion and I thought I had it bad enough here in So. California. I guess my situation is more normal, though, but I hate dusting so everything looks like the Haunted Mansion. :)

mshatch said...

Dust. Hmm, I'll have to remember this when I get back to my story with the desert. I don't think I'd like all that dust.

Medeia Sharif said...

Interesting. I had no idea. It does sound like a housekeeping nightmare. I once lived in a beach apartment where I left the windows open most of the time and I'd see a layer of fine sand on mirrors, but this sounds worse.

Heather Murphy said...

WOW, that would get old in a hurry cleaning up after that. I have a hard enough time already.

Cherie Reich said...

Oh, I'm terrible about dusting furniture and stuff. If I lived in Egypt, I probably would have three feet of dust in my house. LOL!

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I hadn't realized that Egypt has dust, not sand. That makes sense! It does sound like a dusting and cleaning nightmare! Wish there was an easy solution!

Christina Farley said...

That is pretty cool. Historians also said that most ancient Eygptians died from too much dust inhaliation and from eating it in their food.

Tammy Theriault said...

all that sand would drive me nuts in my home!

Jocelyn Rish said...

Huh, I didn't know that it was actually dust. What a neat piece of trivia. But I think it would surely drive me insane if I lived there that gritty film on everything

Jimmy Fungus said...

That would be a nightmare for me. I like to put housekeeping off as long as possible. I think having a layer of dust across everything might motivate me to pay more attention to cleaning. Or more likely than not, I would just have a real dusty house.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Geeze, Egyptians must have a lot of respiratory challenges. Or maybe their/your bodies adjust? Doesn't sound or look pleasant.

xoRobyn

Pk Hrezo said...

Wow. That's all I can say. lol.

I mean just the thought of breathing in all that dust makes me gag. I'm like you when it comes to housekeeping--there are so many other things more important, but a layer of dust on everything would drive me nuts. And once a year?? Wow.

Kelly Louise said...

I always learn a fascinating fact or two when I visit your blog. So interesting.
(Sprinkler - now that says everything about a baby boys anatomy.)

LindaC said...

I just dusted(ish) my living room. I was fairly grumpy about it. Now I know just how lucky I am I will try never to moan again!

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Oh yipes!!! That sounds like a nightmare! I have always been fascinated with Egypt and when you post like this, I love it:)

Annie McMahon said...

Duststorms. Huh! Interesting. Not sure which is worse between that and a Canadian snowstorm. :D Snow doesn't come under the door, and it eventually melts, unlike dust. And you can't really ski on a dust dune. So yeah. I would choose snow over that.

Stephen Tremp said...

I've never seen a dust storm. I'll stick to rain and thunder storms as I'm originally from Michigan. And I love to write during violent storms. They are the perfect storms for me.

Ravena Guron said...

I'm really surprised by the fact that there's no sand! Thank you for correcting my (wrong) belief.

Lynda R Young said...

Oh my gosh! I remember we had a dust storm recently here in Sydney. It was a big one and I was wiping red dust off everything for days. It gets EVERYWHERE!!!! lol. I feel your pain.

michelle said...

No sand? Thanks for the education.
The dust-factor sounds like a house-cleaning nightmare!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

And I thought we had a lot of dust in North Texas. I think I'll not complain so much any more.

Beth said...

So jealous! I want to go to Egypt so bad!

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