Arabian winds

A C130 at

A C-130 lands at Sparrowhawk airstrip outside camp Abu Naji for onward passed to Basrah Airport.

Obviously, the U.S. doesn’t have a monopoly on warm winds like the Santa Ana. On the other side of the world, the Middle East stakes a strong claim to being the land of such winds.

I took a bus from Cairo to get out to the Sinai, with the intent of eventually getting to Dahab. Whenever the bus pulled over by the roadside for everyone to get a break, there tended to be desert winds blowing in off the surrounding sands stretching to the horizon.

The bus only went as far as Sharm el-Sheikh, so I had to get onward transport to Dahab. I managed to get a lift in the back of a pick up truck. For the whole hour-long journey, I was enveloped in gusty hot air whipping around at the back. I couldn’t have been happier.

Being from the UK, where warm winds are hard to find–we tend to do the cold, wet-laden variety–means that I can get a bit obsessive about them.

Out in Iraq, as the sun settled over Abu Naji camp, outside Al Amarah, there’d usually be a gentle wind taking the edge off the day’s heat, providing a real moment of solace.

The best type of wind came at Basrah Airport, on the way back home for R&R or at the end of the tour. Standing there on the tarmac under arc lights, with the desert’s darkness beyond and with that old Mesopotamian wind in my face, knowing that the tour was done and I was going home–that was a special wind.

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