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Your Saharan Dust Plume Weekend Guide: Movies, Cocktails and Food

Way overdramatic interpretation of dust plum headed this way.EXPAND
Way overdramatic interpretation of dust plum headed this way.
Canva.com/Lauren Drewes Daniels

Strange times, indeed. On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott hit the pause button on reopening the state and there’s also news of a Saharan dust cloud sauntering our way. Sounds like maybe we need to hunker down this weekend. Again.

Pictures on Twitter portray hazy days in the Caribbean and layers of dust on cars. Meteorologists predict we’ll have nice sunsets and the initial wave should be encroaching soon (or already has) and will last through the weekend. Thoma Gill, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso, told the Washington Post that while it’s normal to get these desert dust clouds, this one is “a whopper.”  
But, since this massive plume has traveled 7,000 miles to make it here, the least we can do is show it a nice time. Throw a little love its way. Or if you're the type of person who looks for any theme to attach a soiree, then we've got you covered.

Movies
The Saharan desert has provided many stunning backdrops for timeless classics. Pull the curtains closed, turn up the surround sound and embrace the dust. 

First and foremost is Peter O’Toole’s 1962 historical drama, Lawrence of Arabia. Ranked as the 23rd best film of all time by the Hollywood Reporter, the amazing script will pull you in as much as the cinematography.

Follow that up with Hidalgo. You might (but don’t) say this is the American cowboy version of Lawrence of Arabia. It's also set in the Saharan desert and stars Omar Sharif, who is in both films. Viggo Mortensen plays the role of Frank Hopkins, who hops on his mustang Hidalgo and rides his pony (hard) in a long-distance race across the desert.

That evening, shut things down with Casablanca. The Alamo Drafthouse showed this a year or so ago, and it’s simply stunning on the big screen. Like a whole other movie. No. 6 on the Hollywood Reporter’s all-time list; you won’t feel such an urge to drink water as you will in the previous two movies, perhaps brandy instead (Rick’s preferred drink), Champagne or a French 75 (the drink the sloshed French girl with the German soldier orders at the bar). 

If you like running, particularly watching other people do it, Running the Sahara is a documentary that follows three guys attempting to be the first to jog across the desert. One of the guys was a chain-smoking couch potato before attempting this, if that makes it more approachable. I will say, the last scene has always bugged me. This guy is “hurt,” until … well, you have to watch it. 

Parched?
Of course you are! All this dusty desert air, what did you expect? In terms of wetting your whistle, Ketel One has a cocktail called the Sahara Cooler that is made with Citroen flavored vodka, Aperol, passion fruit puree, lime juice, simple syrup and grapefruit beer. 

You know what everyone in the desert needs? A ice pop cocktail! If Popsicles aren't in your drinks this weekend, then you've simply let the plume down. These make any “we better settle back down” hazy desert dust day doable. Trust me on this.

I learned about these from a local bartender, Fernando Soto, who shared a recipe for such a drink on Jimmy Kimmel Live . Upon request, he created a Blue Bell Banana Pop rum cocktail just for us.

Blue Bell Banana Pop Rum CocktailEXPAND
Blue Bell Banana Pop Rum Cocktail
Amy Virden

Blue Bell Banana Pop Rum Cocktail
Fill 2/3 of a glass with ice
Place Banana Popsicle into glass
11/2 oz choice of rum
2 oz Coco real
2 oz Pineapple Juice
Strain into glass
Garnish with light Cinnamon Powder

A Bite to Eat
Dates are the fruit of the desert. Dude, Sweet Chocolate uses dates in their FDA Chocolate “Salami.” What a great excuse to pick one up.

And, finally, everyone knows that in the desert they don’t order plates of food, rather an entire room full. Order family style from your favorite Mediterranean spot and spread it over a pallet in the living room.

Sorry, can’t offer a hookah lounge right now. Just doesn't feel like a safe thing to do.

Stay home! Or find a good viewing spot social distanced inside your car. And don't let the plume down. 

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