Monday, August 08, 2005

Mother of all Sandstorms

08 August 05

Well, the week started out slow. But the last few days have been busy around here. Everything seemed to start into high gear when some E-6 thought that we reported to him and the ITT civilians were his for whatever abuse he chose to dole out. His verbal exchanges and accusations were not well received on my end. I let his captain and my manager know what went on and it was elevated to his major. The skinny on the whole situation is that we don't report to him, he doesn't make demands of us and he especially doesn't talk to us in the tone he spoke to me in on Friday night (and subsequently on Saturday night). As a civilian working for the military, our rank is estimated to be around that of a captain. So this NCO was way out of line. Bottom line: Don't piss me off. I have a very sharp tongue on paper. Dad did teach me that a few well written words go a long, long way in getting results!

Don't know if you saw it in the news, but we had quite the sandstorm last night and this morning. We've had sandstorms here before, but this was probably the worst that I've seen. The dirt started blowing up at around midnight on our way back from midnight chow. We should have expected something because earlier in the day, one of our sites to the south was reporting issues with "inclement weather."

As the early morning progressed, the winds started to pick up and the dust started to get thicker. By the time we were ready to go to morning chow at 5:30 am, the sandstorm was in full thrust. Once I got back to the palace from the chow hall, my hair looked all gray and was stiff as a board from all the dirt.

Visibility was down to about 200 feet. Looks very similar to a thick fog except that it leaves a coating of Sakrete-like dirt all over everything. The rotunda in the palace had something like a cloud of dust hanging in the air as did the chow hall. This dirt blows into every crack and crevice you can imagine. Outside, the light shining through the dirt glows a funky blue for flourescent lighting and any other ambiant lighting, amber. Once sunrise hit, the color of the sky (or what little you could see) glowed in amber and orange.

I rode my bike back to the trailer, but visibility was still only about 150 feet by 8 am. This dirt is so fine and it plays hell with your sinus' and your lungs. I had to take a shower before going to bed. There was no way that I could get into bed with all that dirt imbedded in my skin and scalp. Washing my hair and body, the water flowed off my body in a brown river. I had to use two q-tips to get all the dirt out of my ears! You could have just about grown potatos in my ears with all the amber dirt that were in them.

By the time I woke up tonight, the wind died down and the storm had calmed down. As I rubbed my eyes when I woke up, I had crusties all along the whole length of the insides of my eyelids from all the dust I'd been in earlier this morning. Wonder if I'll be hacking up a lung with the dirt I breathed in too. We'll see.

We have had many more sandstorms this year than last. I think that last summer, we only had one real sandstorm whereas this summer I think we've had at least four or five. The only advantage to the sandstorm today was that it kept temps lower. This morning when I got back to the trailer, it was probably only about 85 degrees. Normally, by this time of the morning, we are at about 95.

Just sitting here at the computer tonight watching CNN. They are running a story on the sandstorm here. It MUST be news if it's on CNN, right?
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