Sliding open my bedroom window, the morning call to prayer from the nearby minaret resonated through the fly-mesh, its ululations amplified by loudspeakers. The smell of fresh stone-baked flatbread wafted from the downstairs bakery’s stove pipes. Both were silhouetted against the scintillating blue of the Gulf’s coastal waters. Orange-brown dust lay in the tracks of the thick double-glazed window, its two panes meant to keep stifling heat outside and artificially cooled air inside. A peeling surround of masking tape forever immobilised one pane, a failed barrier between a summer sandstorm’s eroding blast and a vacuum cleaner’s domestic suction.
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