Sandstorm in Swakop

It is 10 o’clock on a saturday  and I am lying in bed. The sandstorm is howling around the flat. Outside temperature? Probably something around 40 degrees. I am trying to recover from the 2 hours I was doing something this morning.
Like on a normal day I had breakfast at 8 and started working at 8:30 am. Finished packing the cars just before 9 and just before Beth started phoning a lot of different people. Why? Because of the Eastwind. I think I spoke about the Eastwind already last year juin, but according to the locals we did not have a proper Eastwind last year. So just to explain to you. In Swakop we have normally a south-west wind who brings a cool breeze from the ocean. Sometimes a North wind. That is why we don’t have this high temperatures on our dune even though we are in a desert. But, then there comes the Eastwind. He normally comes in winter time (that’s where we are going now into) and brings the hot air from the inland. From the desert. Hot air, dust and a strong wind. A sand storm. That’s what the locals in Swakop think of when they hear Eastwind. Maybe as well braai at the beach, swimming in the ocean, beer at Tiger Reef and beautiful sunsets. Yes, that is what the Eastwind is about as well. For most of the people. Not for me. For me it feels like I am allergic to the air. So maybe I should just stop breathing in this time of the year. Don’t know, but I am literally dying since 5 days. We have since over a week beautiful Eastwind weather without a proper Eastwind. Which means we have around 30 degrees, no fog in the morning or all day long, blue sky all the time, beautiful sunsets, but the Eastwind blows only up to Rossing  mountains. Then the southwester pushes him back. So we had the good part of the Eastwind weather, without the sandstorm. But I felt it already. Every morning the nose started running, I didn’t stop sneezing and my eyes were swollen like hell. I thought in the beginning that it is something in my room, because I know that I have a strong house dust allergy, so it could be the new carpet, or the curtains, which I never washed. But nothing helped. Normally as soon as I am outside in the fresh air my symptoms just stop. Not yesterday. While the clients were suffering on top of the dune ‚cause of the heat, I stood next to them without stopping to sneeze. No, I am not cold. Yes, I know it looks like I got a cold, but I don’t. You know normally when you are sick, all you want to do is to lie in bed and sleep. I don’t. Beside of the fact, that Paulus, the other employer, is after 12 days still not back from his one week holiday and there is no chance that I take off, I anyway wouldn’t. Because I feel worse when I lie in bed, it doesn’t help my allergy. I need fresh air, saltwater, food, exercise, work. Anything like that. Anything what helps. And sometimes nothing helps. Than I just feel bad for myself. Like yesterday. Sitting on the couch next to my boss, complaining about my situation like a baby and sneezing without stopping. „What time is it?“ Beth asks me and sends me straight across the street to Spar to buy a nasal spray. „Maybe it will help. At least then you can breath again.“ 5 minutes later I come back with a nasal spray and a box of Kinder chocolate. Yes, that is the last thing I take when nothing else helps. Chocolate. Just to feel better. Then I went to bed and slept 11 hours straight through. I didn’t know that I can even do that. Sleeping that long. From 9 in the evening ‚til 8 in the morning. Yeah my friends are already worried about me because I don’t come out to party. But seriously, I really don’t feel like seeing anyone right now. Yes I know, if I work I have to deal with clients. But I don’t have a choice.
So, this morning started. Hot. It was hot already at 7. I think it never cooled down at night. I slept with all the windows and my door open. I know, I live in Africa and other it is dangerous, but if my window is open noone can break into my flat, because there is nothing to break. And at least I get fresh air. Normally. Not tonight. There was no wind. Nothing zero. Beth phones her friend at the plots out there where they measured 48 degrees yesterday while we were on the dune. That was pretty much the temperature we had as well. So now she is telling that the Eastwind is pumping. Already. Next phone call. The wind reached already the townships. What does the brother say? He is a big surfer and reads long term forecast. There is no breeze coming from the ocean until late afternoon. Which means the Eastwind can blow all the way up to the ocean. Over our dune.  We walk to the street, look out towards the desert. But we can see only ‚til the next traffic lights. Behind that it’s just white. Dust. The trees in front of our house aren’t moving at all, but the sand storm isn’t far from us. Beth takes the combi to drive to Amapuri. To tell the clients that the morning trip will be cancelled. Why? asks one of the smartest girls. Because there is a sandstorm out there. Just in case you don’t feel it yet. In the meantime Steven and I sit in front of the house watching the trees. If I speak about trees, I obviously talk about palm trees. We don’t have other trees. Do you see the plastic cup over there?  I ask Steven. It’s the first sign. 2 seconds later the blanket on top of the roof picks up. And then the leaves of the palm tree move around. And suddenly just everything is covered in dust. The blue sky is gone, it’s just white. Dust in the air. And I stop breathing. I think it’s time for me to go into the house. In the same time Beth phones and tells us, that we can unpack the cars. There won’t be a trip now and most probably as well not in the afternoon. As soon as I am done with that I fall onto the couch. Trying to breath. Zak is coming, poking me. What’s happening Anne, let’s do something. I love you too little dog, but not today. It’s anyway way to hot for you. Do what you can do best. Go to sleep.
And I walk slowly back to my flat, open the door and what a surprise. It feels like there are at least 20 degrees less in there than outside. Maybe today I will feel better if I stay inside. Maybe there is less dust in the air. Maybe.

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Or maybe not. That’s what I feel a couple of hours later…

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