02 April, 2006
I'm just a Dust Bowl refugee
Here is a photo of yesterday's dust storm taken in front of the hovel in Kafer Soussa.
We had absolutely crazy weather yesterday. You could see dust swirling about high in the sky from early on, but the sky grew darker and more menacing with each hour. Not so much black as a deep earthen brown. Then you began to hear thunder overhead and all around. Then the rain started. Or, more accurately, the mud started. The heavy rain carried much of the dust that had been airborne and deposited it on everything below. The streets in Mezza looked like the arroyos around Tucson after a good monsoon. I went for a swim courtesy of a taxi, thoroughly soaked from the waist down. I told the old woman who lives next door to the hovel that it was like we were on Mars, which made her chuckle.
Despite the rare MUDsoon, I found a house!!!! Thank goodness, because when I returned to the hovel to pack I noticed the doors and the few windows atop the wall leak freely. My house is in an area of Mezza Jbel (Mezza Mountain) known as the 86th Quarter Khezzan. The 86th is named for the Alouite company of soldiers who illegally occupied the area years ago. It's hardly a squatters camp these days. I was a bit shocked when told it is "illegal". Of course that term is a little grayer here. The house is atop a four-story building with a nice view of Jbel Qassiyoun and the city. I have a huge patio at the front door and a large covered patio off my bedroom. That's what sold me on the place. Cheb, Ringo, and Mike came over last night to christen it as my first guests and were dully impressed. After a few songs on the guitars and a Barada or two, we began referring to it as "our house". And so it is, as always, with the places I live. My open-door policy with friends continues. We have already begun plotting where to put the bar-b-que for the first party.