Ask A (Former) Desert Dweller

Hello, come one, come all snow yetis.

(I am so sorry)

I have lived in two countries in my life, and in both of those countries, my family managed to find a desert (albeit one of them was a desert island, so it wasn’t that hard). I’ve lived in California, in America, and in Bahrain, in the Middle East.

I have also visited Dubai, Ethiopia, and Turkey.

I’m happy to answer any questions I can. Be they about climate, aridity, animals, culture… or other questions.

When I moved to Bahrain it was several years after the Arab Spring and there were lots of protests and… well, a lot of problems there. I’m happy to answer what I can about civil unrest and what protests of that nature look like, however, I can’t answer much about the politics and ins-and-outs of what triggered everything there as a) I wasn’t fluent in the language when I arrived and didn’t understand much of the conversation b) I was a teenager when we left and c) not native, therefore I really don’t have the answers someone who’d lived there their entire life would.

Well, fire away. No question is too detailed, ridiculous, or small!


Do you get sand storms often, or are they a rare occurrence? Also, what things always bother you when you see deserts in media?

Great questions! I’ll take them one at a time.

In Bahrain, because it is highly industrialized there aren’t massive bodies of sand in urban areas, therefore there aren’t major sandstorms, not because there isn’t enough wind or the topography is not right for that, but because there isn’t a lot of sand to be picked up. Secondly, there are a lot of heavier terrains that compose their deserts. So there’s rock, dirt, granite, heavier sand, and the classic desert sand. It’s very, very diverse, which is not something you hear a lot about.

That being said there are a lot of dust devils, and when the wind really picks up, because of the pollution in the country, dust and trash sweep through the cities. So, the wind is there, and the dust is there, but we never had to take shelter from a haboob (sand storm).

As for media representation: the entire region is really badly misconstrued, especially the people, however, when it comes to the deserts themselves… there are so many more types than the classic ‘seas of dunes’. There are deserts that almost like miniature grand canyons, a lot of Bahrain’s topography is made of these strange mounds of dirt around a story tall (ten feet), they’ve got plants growing on them and a lot of different terrains, it wasn’t a long time before we learned they were actually graves for past kings. You’ll just be driving by them on the road thinking they’re odd nature-preserves less an acre large.

Another thing is that there is a ton of biodiversity, in plants and animals, in many deserts and grasslands, you just have to know how to see them. And, deserts are ridiculously cold during the night.

So, a lot more diverse than they appear.

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(how did you like the post so quickly?)

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I am active.

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I mean, yeah, but… lol, never mind. :laughing:

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