Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sandstorm Alert!

Hi everyone! I am back in Cairo. Kristin and her journalist friends are still very busy and I am still learning new things everyday.

Saturday afternoon I saw something I have NEVER seen in my life (not even on TV!). It was something Egyptians call "khamseen." Kristin calls it a "sandstorm." I've heard of thunderstorms, snowstorms, hurricanes, and even tornadoes but I have never heard of a sandstorm. Have you?

Anyway, it had been windy all day and even a few raindrops fell on my head as Kristin and her journalist friends walked to a meeting around 3:00pm. Kristin said the raindrops were unusual because it rarely rains in most of Egypt. I had no idea!

But it wasn't until we left the meeting that Kristin told me she thought something else was happening with the weather. The sky had turned a strange yellow-orange color and it was very cloudy. I thought the sky was an interesting color so I asked Kristin to take a photo of me against the sky. I'm not sure you can see much in this photo but BELIEVE me, it was a cool color!

A few minutes after this photo, Kristin and her friends decided we were seeing a sandstorm. I thought this was interesting so I wanted to keep my head out of Kristin's purse as she and her group walked toward the bus. But Kristin said I would be safer if I was tucked away inside her purse. Now I know why.

Kristin walked about half a block and then stopped very suddenly. She said a wave of sand was headed our way and we needed to get inside FAST. Here's the picture Kristin took just before turning around to RUN back to the building we had just left.

Don't tell Kristin but I peaked out of her bag as soon as she started running. Suddenly a big rush of air hit Kristin and her friends and LOTS of sand was swirling all around us. It was raining sand! There was sand EVERYWHERE. It filled Kristin's shoes and covered her clothes. It was also very hard to breath.

Kristin and her friends made it safely back to the building where they had just been and I could tell there was more and more sand in the air. So we waited until the bus could pick us up in front of the building. When it did arrive, Kristin told me to cover my mouth with a Kleenex so I wouldn't breath in as much sand.

It wasn't until we were on the bus and on our way back to the hotel that I could tell the sand was causing major problems. I couldn't see a thing. Kristin said it looked like a foggy morning outside except the fog was actually sand.

When we got back to the hotel, Kristin took a picture of the sky from her hotel balcony. Here's what I could see from Kristin's balcony on our first day here.

And here's what it looked like during the storm.

WOW! Can you see how strange it looked outside? I couldn't even see the Nile River through all of the sand! I told Kristin I thought it was cool. But, I was actually kind of scared (shh...don't tell Kristin). The storm ended after a few hours but it caused a huge mess. There were lots of traffic accidents and Kristin said several international news outlets had some stories about the storm over the weekend.

After the storm was over, I was curious about why it happened in the first place. Kristin said maybe it was the curse of King Tut. WHAT? Kristin says strange things have happened to people who have worked in King Tut's tomb. Some people believe that the strange things are messages from King Tut that he is not happy they are working in his tomb. Kristin says this belief is sometimes called "The Curse of King Tut." I had my picture taken in King Tut's tomb the day before the sandstorm. I hope he isn't mad at me!!!

Kristin told me not to worry. She doesn't think King Tut is mad about my photo. And she doesn't think the sandstorm was a message from King Tut. Whew!

Instead, Kristin says sandstorms are common this time of year here in Egypt. That's because most of the country is desert. I had no idea! See if you can find a map that shows Egypt's desert.

Well I better get ready for bed. I need to get extra sleep because I never know what exciting things I will see next on this trip.

I hope all is well with you. Until next time....