Dust storm. It gets everywhere. Everywhere. This will be the last journey of my Camino boots. I’ve clung onto them for ages now. I made a pair of Brashers last a decade, but these boots are pretty much the only footwear I ever put on these days. I can hear them screaming right now. They are caked in dust. Stones are burrowing into all the seals. Add to that they’re getting a bit ripe. They’re not gonna improve. I logged way too many steps on the Fitbit today, trying to redress wind damage.

The gale was up in the desert. My fingers and my face feel tacky with sandblow. Room service gave me a towel yesterday but they took it back this morning when I was at work. I can’t even have a shower. I want a bath and beer. They’re being weird about giving me another towel.. I’m going out for food.

If they would let me in the shops I’d buy a towel. And a bedside lamp. This hotel is shit.

They have a terrible contact tracing app in Saudi that doesn’t work for me, so if they ask to see the app I can’t go into the shop. And they always ask to see the app and often they’re very bolshy if I try to pretend that I think they are saying hello, or any of the other many tactics I have attempted.

I’ll likely have to buy something through the door of some place. I was lucky with the yemeni food yesterday.

Pizza without tomato. Damn. Still, it’s edible. And filling. Just boring. I didn’t really know what I was ordering once again.

I’m not thinking very coherently right now. I’m absolutely exhausted. That desert wind…

I have never been happier about the fact that masks are everywhere at the moment. They would probably have been issued at site entrance even before Covid. You can see the sheets of flying sand coming before they engulf you. Putting a mask on makes it a bit less of a “duck and cover” situation, but if the zephyr is shifting you’ll want as little of that sand in contact with your face as possible.

I never had my phone out when it was terrible but the body language speaks volumes

My lips are very chapped and my eyes are sunglasses panda. I look like I’ve been in an oven. I kind of have been. A fan assisted oven full of sand.

I spent way too long trying to stop things from blowing away into the desert. Big bits of cardboard, lumps of polystyrene, surprised elephants, flags, speed limit signs, bin bags, sand bags, cars, horses, me. I’d gather them up and try to secure them or return them or roll them or tie them down. The emergency assembly point flag was never gonna stay up unless I could find some cables and guys and a mallet, but I was too tired to think by the time that started happening. Every time I disposed of a big bit of rubbish another one would blow across from somewhere else and I’d put my foot on it and then something else would jump up and start scudding across site. Most people there have a sort of base. I don’t, apart from my car, and I prefer not to sit in it with the engine running, so I just pounded the ground… On the plus side, a fortnight like that and I’ll lose a stone. And what an absolute joy to be tanned in February. Problem is I sent a self tape just before I flew out. Best get the lotion out and some chapstick. If only they would fucking let me go into a fucking shop. These casting decisions can be arbitrary and I don’t want to look too different from how I looked when I recorded the scene… Hey ho.. It’s not like I have a great deal of choice in a desert dust storm.

At least I got a towel and had a shower.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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