Half a year ago I sold my old Toyota Corolla, which I drove for about 8 years, including long holiday trips to the Cote de Azur, Venize and the Dalmatian coast. But I also experienced a couple of accidents, one at night on the Autobahn when I fall asleep at 95 miles/hour and only woke up by the shouting of my family and the care crashing into the side rail.
The most tender memories that I associated with the Toyota were multiple rides around Munich with Ghazal, a student who did her master project with me. Anyhow, last year I decided that a car should not be the subject of romantic emotions, and its declining technical state simply caused me more and more headache than could be compensated by any romantic memories. So when I finally decided to get rid of it, I remembered some guys from Africa here in Munich, who already approached me on a public car-park to express their interest in the Corolla. They told me it is a much sought after model, to be transferred to Africa where people like to use it as a taxi cab. So indeed, the guy was ready to pay me 500 € for it, even though I told him frankly that the air-conditioning was not working any more, but that the stand-alone gas-driven heating was still perfect.
As a last farewell, before I handed the car over to a specialized over-sea export company for used cars, I wrote with a permanent marker behind the sun screen some "Greetings to Africa, Bone Voyage". Of course I never expected to receive any message back, and till yesterday I had almost forgotten about my old Toyota.
But obviously, some message indeed came back. First I was a bit annoyed, when in the morning I found my new car completely covered with a layer of yellow dust. I suspected a nearby construction site to have polluted the road side and the cars parking along with their debris. And I also recognized a strange smell in the air, like laim or clay dust, and even a rough feeling in my troat.
Then I was worried why almost all cars that I saw in Munich and even vehicles from colleagues which came from outside the city to work, they all showed the same pattern of dirt on the outer surfaces. But is was also obvious that the stuff was not spread up from dirty streets, but it had fallen down from the air, since it covered almost exclusively the roofs, windows and the engine covers.
The solution to this mystery was found by scientists working at the atmospheric observatory on the Zugspitze mountains in the nearby Alp mountains. They detected a jet stream from the far south, virtually from the African Sahara desert, loaded with masses of desert dust that blow North up to middle Europe and for some reason deposited most of the yellow dust over Bavaria.
Now I am wondering, that if mineral dust can be easily transported by the jet stream over thousands of kilometers, what else might be carried over here ? Gold dust, diamonds, oriental spices, seeds of funny plants, bacteria or viruses for not so funny diseases ?
But maybe it is simply the dust that the new owner of my Toyota somewhere in Nigeria brushed out of the cars chairs.