The Saharan Dust Cloud Blew into Florida…..and Brought Memories of Past Travels

Sunday, June 28, 2020

2020 Sahara Dust Cloud

 

On Thursday morning, it was official, the Saharan Dust cloud arrived over the state of Florida.

The Saharan Dust Cloud of 2020 reported by Fox35 Orlando TV .
The Saharan Dust Cloud of 2020 reported by Fox35 Orlando TV .

 

Early Friday morning, we awoke to this view:

The dust cloud appears to be rolling in on a wave.
The dust cloud appears to be rolling in on a wave.
You can still some blue sky above the dust.
You can still see some blue sky above the dust.
The cloud appears to be moving at a pretty good clip!
The cloud appears to be moving at a pretty good clip!
I guess that's what creates the wave effect.
I guess that’s what creates the wave effect.

 

And Friday evening, it continues:

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Twelve hours later, as the sun moved along to set, the dust was still visible and still on the move.

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Saturday morning the cloud was still hanging in there. But, this was not the crimson sunrise we had anticipated.

There was still blue sky peeking through the dust cloud.

There was still blue sky peeking through the dust cloud.

We wondered if the cloud would soon pass out to the sea.
We wondered if the cloud would soon pass out to the sea.

 

But no, the cloud lingers:

By Sunday morning, the dust was creating a flat sea of haze.
By this morning, the dust was creating a flat sea of haze.  It will remain with us for a few more days.

 

Now, this has been an interesting phenomenon and certainly well worth getting up early to see.  But, as often happens in these days of pandemic “stay-at-home,” our thoughts reached back to the days when we could actually travel to the sands of the Sahara.

We had begun our travels to Morocco in the 1980s while living in Europe.  At that time, Rabat, Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh, and Tangier may have been the most exciting and exotic cities we had ever seen!!!  Our last trip to Tangier was in November 2009.  It was still exciting and exotic:

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This is a night view, taken from the harbor, of the Tangier city wall. The Hotel Continental sits atop the hill. (Wikipedia photo by Diego Delso, Delso.photo license cc-by-sa.)
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The Hotel Continental, one of the oldest hotels in Tangier, was built in 1870. This photo from 1946 hangs in the dining room.
We had a lovely lunch here.
We had a lovely lunch there.
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From the Hotel Continental, the harbor and beach are on view and inviting. Note the camel on the beach.
Oh yeah,  Sandy was game for a camel ride!
Oh yeah, you know it, Sandy was game for a camel ride!
We didn't go far.
So, OK, we didn’t go far….
And yes!!!  It was fun!!!
…..It was still a fun ride!!!
Isn't he cute!  Sandy's BFF for the day!!!
Isn’t he cute! Sandy’s new BFF, for the day!!!  Well, actually half an hour.

 

And that same year, for the first time, we visited Gabes, Tunisia.  Although this is the capital city of Tunisia, the glamour, mystery and allure of “place” are not quite so evident:

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We sailed into the port at Gabes in the Fall of 2009. Gabes is one of the largest industrial cities in Tunisia. The main industries are cement, chemical products, an oil refinery and many brick factories.
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This was back in a time when Sandy collected sand from our travels. Here she is along the Oued Gabes “River” and Oasis de Gabes. 

 

Of course, nothing compares to the cosmopolitan feel of Casablanca.  And the movie, “Casablanca”, splendidly portrayed the intrigue and mystery of this city .  It’s too bad that Rick and his cafe never really existed.  Rick’s Cafe was certainly a marvelous piece of fiction. So it’s a real treat for the movie’s fans that a clever entrepreneur took the fiction and made it a reality!!!  This faithfully created copy does an excellent job of putting visitors into the mood of that time gone by:

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Housed in a traditional grand Moroccan mansion, the structure was restored and renovated by Bill Willis to evoke the Rick’s Cafe of Casablanca fame, including the 1930s Pleyel piano.
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And yes, as we awaited our fabulous lunch, we listened to that great song, “As Time Goes By.”
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Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca was the creation of Kathy Kriger, a former American diplomat. Today, it is owned by The Usual Suspects company and has brought the idea of “Gin Joint” to life in Casablanca.

 

So, the Saharan Dust Cloud has blown over the state of Florida leaving behind dust, coughs, and sinus issues.  But for us, it also brought some very pleasant memories.

 

Thank you for joining us on this trip down memory lane!!!

It’s the only travel we get to do these days!!!

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