Windswept and interesting

Everyone loves a good windswept look – think Kate Winslet in Titanic. But on Saturday, it all got a bit ridiculous, with a fierce wind, the khamaseen, whipping across the city.

This wind tears across the country from the west, hauling great quantities of dust and sand with it. It was said to have choked Napolean’s soldiers during their invasion of Egypt from 1798–1801, which you can believe if you heard the shutters and windows crashing during the night, when it howled like a banshee. I had left a window open, with the shutters closed, the night before, and the next morning, everything was coated in a thick layer of dust, which I’m still mopping up.

According to Al-Alhram journalist Gamal Nkrumah’s column this week, the month of Mechir or Amshir, the sixth month of the Coptic calender,”invariably 8 February to 9 March, is the month of howling winds and sandstorms, which is why it is named after the ancient Egyptian god of winds, Mechir”.

Cairenes have explained the weather as 10 days of cold and rain or howling winds, then 10 hot days when the clothes you wore yesterday are completely out of kilter, leaving you covered in either goosebumps or sweat. On the positive side, you can make a statement with big sunglasses, and there’s no need to use exfoliating face scrubs…just stick your head out the window.

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad.

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