Monday, May 25, 2009

As the Sands Get Into the Eyes and the Mouth, the Desert Fashion Emerges!

Before I slept at 2am this morning, I updated my Facebook status about the massive and powerful sandstorm yesterday which lasted from early afternoon to midnight. The visibility was down to just a few meters (almost nil I suppose) and the heavy winds disrupted our shrimp harvest operation.

All the tractors, trailers and trucks used for our nocturnal activity were all using their high beam lights so they can move safely along the pond dikes. It was a terrible day.

The lukewarm shower that turned the colorless rain into a brownish-liquid gushing against an immaculately white tile backdrop was so refreshing that it ushered me to a very relaxing and restful slumber.

The ringing of my alarm clock at 6:30am was like a tap on my shoulder, like a spin on my head nudging me that it was time to get out of my bed. It was time for my prayers and affirmation that today was going to be a beautiful day. As I opened the curtains, there are all these wonderful signs that it was going to be a beautiful day - the sun rays were glowing in the skies. Today's gonna be a beautiful day!

As I dashed out of the villa, the dust started to creep to the southern skies. I had no choice but to go back to my flat and hurriedly get my leather jacket and my Yemeni-shomag (shawl) in preparation for the day's climate change.

Business as usual for us in the morning... I presided over our morning production meetings involving the first line and senior managers of Grow-Out, Harvest Support, Processing Plant, QAQC, and Sales and Marketing which was held daily at the dust-free factory's meeting room. Everyone discussed about yesterday's sandstorm and how it has affected the operation... The workers turn out was low. The bus service for the workers to and from their accommodations was also a hit in the meeting. Despite the delays and hiccups, two thumbs up rating were given by many managers for the previous day and night performances. The 8-9am meeting ended up with everyone wishing one another for a happy and safe sandstormy day.

Two termination harvests were extended throughout the day but I did not go to the field but rather preferred to stay at the office. I need to catch up with a lot of reports to complete... still a carry over effect of my 2 weeks absence. I need to work on the reports from morning till early afternoon before the sandstorm rages.

I presently hold office in a portable cabin at the sprawling Processing Plant Complex. This was supposed to be our temporary office for a year until we are permanently transferred to a dust-proof state of the art office inside the factory. But it seems that the temporary status is getting delayed... Well, the delay is caused because there was no long period of factory shutdown that happened last year nor is there any schedule for this year. Our shrimp volume has always stayed at an average of 50 tons a day.

Don't get me wrong, but we love very much this 120 square meters porta cabin that has not just become our office but a home to the one and a half year old department. It is a witness to all the meetings, counselings, coachings, discussions, squabblings, rantings, promotions, increments, and celebrations.

This cabin, although dwarfed by the surrounding buildings that are no longer measured by square meters but by hectares, has become a significant marker of an office of a team that has evolved from a small section into one of the biggest departments of the company. It is home to over 150 staff that will hopefully reach 200 by the end of the year once the newly hired recruits would come on board.

The only regret I have in this office is its not being "dust-proof". My staff tried so many times to cover the tiny holes with silicone but this helped only to stop the bigger-sized sand from getting inside. The fine sand can still manage its way to your eyes and into your mouth especially when you open it so wide.

I was about to close my laptop to vacate to my dust-free flat when my skype call rang. It was a call from my wife and kids and they saw me wrapped like a shawarma. They couldn't believe at the sight they saw. You will hear their laughter that echoed through out my room and the next. They had fun and said that I was sinister-looking and appeared like a wanted terrorist. Our youngest Chloe added that I should be holding a high-powered firearm to complete the props. I flippantly told them that it was going to be the fashion for the season.

There it goes! I wanted to believe otherwise but it's going to be the start of the sandstorm season here at the desert. The season may last for another 4 to 5 months and we will be wearing the fashion that we wore today.


To give you an idea of the fashion that I am talking about, here are some snaps that I happened to click on today...

this fashion will be for a season (4 to 5 months)
the use of colors and fabric may change... styles may vary and alter... but the inspiration of the fashion will always be the same! Preventing the sand from getting into your EENT (Eyes, Ears, Nose, and Throat [representing the Mouth]).

The Arabic Shomag...
The shomag here is not properly set. What do you expect from this Filipino blogger anyway?

This is a combination of a Shomag and an H1N1-inspired mask worn by our
Saudi Receiving Yard Coordinator Ahmed Salem

H1N1-inspired mask with cap is one of the most popular headgears in the desert.
They are modelled by Emerson, FLM, Filipino; Abdullah Manna, Coordinator, Saudi; Mustaq, Sr. Officer, Indian

tailored-headgear with goggles is worn by Zakkir, our Bangladeshi Harvest Supervisor,

This shomag with goggles is worn by Shobanan, High End Skilled Worker, Saudi

This simple kerchief is worn by Raju, our Nepali Office Assistant

This Abu-Sayyaf inspired bonnet may not be that effective but it's the easiest to wear when one needs to put something into his head. It is worn by Iqbal, our Bengali Receiving Yard Assistant Supervisor.

Everyday, for the next 120 days or so, I will be rising up expecting for another sandstormy day but that will not stop me from uttering my morning prayers and affirmation that the new day's gonna be a beautiful and a blessed day!


  1. so this is a fashion blog afterall huh?LOL!

    ganun pala jan,teka sa qatar din ba may sandstormn ganyan and OMG 5months nakaganyan>???!!!waaaaa!

  2. @Mac: Hahaha... very far from being one. That's the only way I can describe our situation here at the desert. linagyan lang ng kulay ang buhay sa disyerto. salamat sa dalaw. sinilip ko ang dalawang pahina mo. whew... hanggang pg lang ang mga mata!

  3. Hahahahaha! I can't stop laughing, kahit ngayong nagsusulat na po ako ng comment ko. Hahaha!

    Buti hindi po nadudumihan ang laptop niyo. Whew! Mahirap linisin 'yan.

    Nakaka-relate ako, actually kasi three times na rin akong nakaranas ng dust storm dito sa S.A., pinakamatagal na ang 2hrs pero ang hirap nga po! Paano pa kaya ang 4-5months.

    Humourous blog ba ang target ng Desert Aquaforce ngayon? o",)

  4. Wow!!!Astig!!!Minsan gusto ko rin maging mukhang terorista eh lolzz

    Buti na lang pala walang Sandstorm dito sa Palau, malamang ganyan din mga hitsura nmin :D

  5. haha! gusto ko rin ng ganyan1 seriously! haha. dito nga sa pinas pag humahangin nga malakas at may kasamang alikabok tuwang-tuwa ako e. weird ba?

  6. namimiss ko naman ang sandstorm hehehe..
    no use wearing white clothes..
    magiging putim ung puti at the end of the day..

  7. desert models? kelan ang rampa ng mga yan kuya?

    congrats for the free face powder...


  8. @DocRJ: Salamat naman at naaliw ka doki sa post. I was not trying to come up with a humorous blog... peksman. I was just being real to what has happened to us yesterday. Today, when I showed the blog to my staff, they were roaring with laughter and I just stared at them with a wondering face...Di ko ma getz na funny pala ang post.

    Well, kelangan na nga e-vacuum ang key board ng laptop... puno na ng alikabok.

    While I'm writing this reply, the sandy wind is again lashing our place here.

    Neehow, it's still a beautiful day!

  9. @LordCM: Terorista ba kamo? Naghahanap ng miyembro ang Abu Sayaf...hehehe. Kung may sandstorm dyan sa inyo, tyak na mas fashionista and dating mo!

    @Badong: Sige tapusin mo ang pag-aaral mo at maging isang OFW sa desyerto... Hehehe. Tapos, join ka sa Kablogs at PEBA...

    @YanaH: Tapusin mo 6 months mo sa kumpanya at bumalik ka na sa desyerto ng sa ganun di mo miss ang sandstorms...hehehe.

  10. Its a very good post, pwede pang entry sa PEBA, hahaha, pero how do you able to get the people to pose? ang galing naman, hehehe,

    Very good post NJ!

    Ngayong mainit nagcocover din ako ng face lalo na pag uwian, nakakasunog kasi ng balat ung init, minsan 48 - 51 degrees C.

  11. @PinkTarha: Is it For The Win ba talaga...hahaha. When I was writing the post using the word FASHION, the first thought that crossed my mind was THE PINK TARHA. When it comes to desert fashion... there's only one blog for it - The PINK TARHA! By the way, my wifey just like your blog so much... She already listed down the stores and malls that we'll be going to when she comes over for a 2 week vacation... And she'll have a longer list after reading all your archives... hehehe!

    @Azel: hahaha.. rarampa ang mga desert models araw araw... i really never thought of the free face powder thing... umaayon sa panahon ng recession ano?

  12. @Kenji aka MrKablogs & MrPEBA: Nag-iisip na ako ng pang entry sa PEBA... hehehe... magandang e-infuse ang kahirapang dinaranas ng OFW sa gitna ng desyerto.. katulad ng sandstorm na to.

    hwag ka na magcover ng face... sabi ni Azel, free face powder daw eh. ako di na kelangang magbalot.. sunog na sunog na... hehehe.

  13. Akala ko naligaw ako ng pagbisita ng blog man... ako blogsite ng mga abu
    Kung hindi mo babasahin ang article, at sa picture lang ikaw titingin, aakalain mong may quarantine sa lugar na yan tol...
    hehehe..mabuti at walang sand storm dito sa Pinas...

  14. Akala ko naligaw ako ng pagbisita ng blog man... ako blogsite ng mga abu
    Kung hindi mo babasahin ang article, at sa picture lang ikaw titingin, aakalain mong may quarantine sa lugar na yan tol...
    hehehe..mabuti at walang sand storm dito sa Pinas...

  15. @Mokong: Hahaha... parang naka quarantine nga ang mga mukha ng mga modelo sa disyerto... kaya ung ibang headgear fashion ay inspired ng H1N1... ahahahaha! tawagin ko na lang ung mga naka mask as "quarantine models"... hehehe.

  16. hahaha...last time nasubukan ko ring naging fashion model ng kapote dahil sa sandstorm n yan..ang kapote ginawa kong pang sandstorm, hindi na sa ulan..hirap kasi lumabas kaya naghanap ng paraan..hahaha

  17. @poging(ilo)CANO: oo nga naman pogi ano? hindi ko naisip na magandang gear pala ang kapote para sa sandstorm. kung may pix ka, padala mo...isama ko sa mga rumarampang mga modelo sa disyerto...ahahahaha.

  18. there are times na yang sandstorm nakakrating sa amin here in mediterranian sea kasi lapit namin sa north africa, me mga desyerto din.

    Yan ang purpose ng blogging, we connect to all bloggers whats going on in our host country.

    Hindi po bagay sa inyo ang terorist fashion, wag nyo po i career, ahihiiii

  19. Cool. I mean, what a summer fashion! Although Abu Sayyaf-ic-cum-terrorist ang dating, cool pa rin sya tingnan. Ngayon alam ko na kung bakit balot na balot ang mga tao sa Saudi. Because of their weather.

    Somehow, I'm used to shamal na. Kapag sandstorm, I just stay in my room.

    Impressive post, NJ.

  20. Each time na nagkakaruon ng sand storm sa KSA ay kasumod naman na mananalanta ang nasabing sand storm sa Doha, but this time it did not hit us, otherwise we'll be sporting the same fashion clothes that you guys are wearing, di rin kami pahuhuli - mahilig din kami sa uso hahahaha.

    A blessed day to you.

  21. yikes! sandstorms could be really nasty most of the time. pahirapan sa pagtanggal ng buhangin afterwards I'm sure. Glad you came out, unscathed. :D

    Cool fashion! i'm liking the "combination of a Shomag and an H1N1-inspired mask" haha!

    thanks for giving your two cents, my friend :) i'm more inclined into fiction...i don't know exactly why. hehe! just be sure to read the label to be sure :P

  22. @Francesca: Ur right, blogging will be one way to connect what's happening to other bloggers in their home fronts.
    Glad to know that you're experiencing sandstorms there but not to the magnitude we have here.
    And don't worry hindi ko gustong i-career ang pagiging terrorista... ahahahaha.

    @Nebz: Tawag mo 'to cool habang pumapasok ang alikabok at buhangin sa bunganga, ilong at mata? Enjoy to roam around the desert habang sandstorm...hahaha.
    Thanks for the 'appreciate'!

  23. @Pope: Magkadugtong ang lupain ng saudi at Qatar except that the desertland of Saudi is just enormous. Aabangan ko ang desert fashion mo once sinalanta ka jan ng malakas na sandstorm (which I hope and pray will not happen)...kaya pa uso na lang at mag pa picture...hehehe.

    @lucas:ang sandstorm is like the rainstorm we have there... yung baha is like the sand dunes formed na makatabon ng mga sasakyan at bahay if talagang malakas.
    i dunno but your writing style just continue to fascinate and mesmerize me. napagaling talaga!