Almost Harmattan in Costa Rica

A Dakar, Senegal Mosque Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean — Photographed while in The Gambia & Senegal, 1999-2002.

A few readers know or remember that I once live in The Gambia, West Africa for three years with many experiences recorded on this same website found by following my AFRICA Travel Page links or going directly to pages for The Gambia and Senegal. I made both of the above photos in Dakar, Senegal.

I got one of my first shocks the first month there when I told the guards that it looked like a rain storm was coming from the north, even though it was “The Dry Season.” They laughed at me and explained that the first month of dry season was called Harmattan and was when the sand and dust from the Sahara Desert blew south and west and that we would soon be covered in dust and sand, thus close your windows. I closed them and it did not help much with everything in the little apartment covered in dust or sand. Incidentally, some years that same Harmattan blows part of the Sahara Desert all the way across the Atlantic to Costa Rica. Really! 🙂

In Costa Rica it is not called “Harmattan,” but we have a similar experience any time from late December to mid-March when the wind blows almost constantly and everything is dusty. It is not as heavy as West Africa, but it is for a longer period of time with just dust, not desert sand (usually)! It is worse if one of the volcanoes is erupting and we get the gray to black volcano soot like I’ve had a few times from Volcán Turrialba. 🙂

Thus when another WordPress Blogger posted this Poem by Danusha Lameris, I saved it to share right now during our “mini-harmattan” or windy weather or dusty season, none of which are titles Costa Rica brags about for our “Dry Season” (most popular tourist time). And incidentally, this years winds seem to be stronger and at night much cooler than the previous 6 Dry Seasons for me here. Now North Americans wouldn’t consider the low 60’s Fahrenheit cold, but that’s a “two-blanket night” here! 🙂

Continue reading “Almost Harmattan in Costa Rica”

Sweeping Out Yesterdays Volcano Dust

When my morning sweep includes gray dust, I know it erupted! Yesterday!
It is 104 km away or about 65 miles. Wind blows the ash across the valley.
No big deal! A broom does wonders! (Or vacuum for some.)

See the eruption story and video at:

THE GOOD NEWS: Erupting Volcanoes may help slow global warming. Interesting!

True Grit!

Turrialba Volcano has been erupting recently and my decks were covered yesterday in black dust or volcanic ash I guess. And I’m more than a hundred miles away! See the report. Black dust in the house too!

We get it because of the high winds this year which we are told are caused by exceptionally cold weather up north this year. Therefore your snow and ice caused black dust on my balcony!  🙂

Mi Oficina

I often debate myself about using Spanish in this blog, but as I use it more daily I will probably include more here just for “color” if no other reason. You probably know that the above title “Mi Oficina” is Spanish for “My Office.” Though I have already pointed to a gallery with photos of my apartment, I am now adding to that gallery and will start featuring one room every few days with multiple photos, since I figure most of you don’t want to go to a gallery. So first off is my office which doubles as a guest room.

Desk Converts to Bed
That fold-out desk folds back up against the mirror. Then the entire beautiful wood panel folds down to the floor and makes into a queen size bed with mattress all hiding behind that wall. The depth is the same as the closet which is next to the bed/desk. Pretty cool, especially for someone who will not really have that many overnight guests. And if there is a third person, the living room couch is a wonderfully comfortable twin bed, though not made for sheets to fit well.

Printer on left on my cardboard box table, laptop on desk & supplies in closet.
Because window is open more than a/c on, and it is dry season with wind,
dust blows in the window. Thus $8 twin-bed sheet set provides table cloth
for cardboard box table AND the cover for printer when not being used. The
matching pillow case provides a dust cover for computer when not in use.
Since front faces west, blinds are closed in afternoons and some hot days
when working in office in afternoon I use the air conditioner for that room.
The louvered door on right with calendar is one of two closet doors in room.

There is a large air conditioner in the living room/dining room and a smaller one in each bedroom which this office is one. Because I often use the office in the hot afternoon, this a/c is used the most. But my first electric bill was only $22 and others have said theirs is often around $30 which is not bad. I never need a/c at night, sleeping with windows open under a heavy comforter. The great weather here helps save on electricity! The dry season dust is something I got used to in The Gambia which was much worse with sand storms blowing in sand there. I’m in a green neighborhood and 200 meters off the road, so dust is light, but still happens.