SANDSTORMS & SAFA PARK

When I lived in Hong Kong, it was routine to wake up and not be able to see the harbour. The high-rise buildings were hidden amongst clouds of fog and air pollution. But last weekend was the first time I have experienced visibility being obscured by a sandstorm.

The weather didn’t look too ominous in the morning. It was Saturday, my day off in Dubai, everyone else’s Sunday, the official days of the weekend being Friday and Saturday. I set off to explore Dubai’s main green oasis, Safa Park, excited to see some green and also keen browse the stalls at the Dubai Flea Market again.

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The park didn’t disappoint, with lovely large fields of grass, trees and water fountains, definitely a respite from highways, buildings and sandy patches that make up the rest of the city. The flea market was also good, bigger than the one I had been to before and it satisfied my bargain-shopping urges.

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The real discovery of the day was the library-cum-arty café The Archive. Set in a contemporary white building, with glass windows and a terrace overlooking the park, the café is a delightful place to spend some time, browsing through the great collection of art and design books from the Middle East and North Africa. I noted that they run weekly Arabic lessons on a Thursday night…I just might be tempted!

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I left the park just after midday as the air started becoming hazy. By the time I reached home it was hot, windy and difficult to see. It was apparent that I was indeed in a sandstorm. I cancelled my afternoon plans and bunkered up at home only emerging around 7pm to get some supplies from the supermarket. I was almost swept away by the wind and felt like I was in a big oven. Surprisingly the sensation wasn’t actually that unpleasant as fortunately the sand is very fine and not abrasive. I was mainly worried about having to cross the road as Dubai drivers are resentful of slowing down for pedestrians at the best of times.

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(View from our apartment at about 3pm on Sunday. Visibility was reported to have been only 500 meters during the peak of the storm)

I went to bed early and the next morning saw big puddles of water as I walked to the studio. It seems the sandstorm had joined forces with a thunderstorm during the night! I was quite disappointed to have missed that. It might be quite a while before I have the chance to see rain again…although there is that trip to London planned…!

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(The same view looking sparkly and shiny after the rain)

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One comment

  1. Nice post with good photos! At that moment I was in Karama and it was very windy. I had seen the rain in the evening also when I was having my dinner in a local restaurant.

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