madness in Marrakesh

I used to fantasize about being Lawrence of Arabia, but apparently I’m far less cut out for that than I’d realized. At 9 a.m. in my kitchen (never mind the desert) it’s only 90 degrees, and I already feel a sort of claustrophobia. I used to like the hot dry wind, the chergui, as it blew in from the door on the east side of the kitchen, across my desk, and out the door on the west side. It was romantic, borne by the blue Tuareg, born of the Sahara and oases and unrestrained stars. But now it’s been about ten days of temperatures of 100 and above, and I think it might make me mad: sometimes the air has a thickness to it, and for a moment I wonder if I can breathe. The fan doesn’t provide coolness anymore–not even the illusion of cool. This morning the hot air it’s blowing feels like the wind feared by firefighters in summer in the American West, the wind that fans sparks into flame. It seems quite possible that at any second my bed, the curtains holding back the morning sun, these tadelakt walls, me, and maybe all of Marrakesh will suddenly catch fire.

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