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Windy Corner July 20, 2007

Posted by isabelleinnamibia in Eh?, Namibia, Weather, Windhoek.
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Namibia is well known for being windy country, hence the name of its blustery capital, Windhoek. Now it is winter, high pressure systems push up from the Cape, not bringing a drop of moisture, but firing up the gales from the south. It is also the driest of the seasons, meaning that the earth is whipped into a cycloning frenzy whenever a fresh gust blows in. Dust is everywhere. Little piles of dirt can be found around the office and house where a draught has ushered the beige grains into orderly mounds. Massive dust-laden gusts blast through on a whim, blurring your vision and adding to your flu-induced cough and sneezing. This is particularly hazardous as I zip around on my scooter, threatening to unbalance me, blind me and choke me in one go. The winds are channelled through the mountain peaks, mischievously causing havoc in pockets around the city. And regardless of where I’ve been, any inch of bare skin will be coated in a layer of glittery gold sheen by the evening.

Outside the city, these winds reach gales force speed as they sweep across the desert plains. Our drive to the coast last weekend was a constant battle to stay on the single-lane highway, dodging the pressure bursts from passing trucks or overtaking maniacs. On the coast, there was just a warm breeze flowing out of the desert to the sea, giving us a taste of summer in the depths of African winter.

This is until the sandstorm from the east swept in. All quad-biking and sand-boarding activities were cancelled and we were prisoners in the hotel. The storm was pounding the pass along the coast up to the road back inland so badly that we were warned that the paint on the car would be sand-blasted off if we were stupid enough to tackle it – that is assuming we don’t get blown off the road in the attempt.

Even Ovitoto has a constant breeze whistling through. As I pulled up at the school to stay recently, I admired how patiently the children were waiting to be let into the dining hall in a neat queue. Suddenly they scattered across the yard, screaming as they sought shelter from the towering cyclone that was tearing through the field towards them, pregnant with dust and debris. I too dashed into my room, and closed the windows, just as the force hit, causing the windows and tin roof to rattle. My freshly-made bed was coasted in a fine layer of dust, as was everything else in the room. For my 3 day stay, my room resembled a sand pit (this is however a vast improvement on the abattoir that I encountered last time I went to stay, when the entire room was inexplicably splattered with animal blood).

I dream of rain.

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