My initial frustration at seeing the clouds and dust gave way to glee at the thought of riding out looking like this:
Now properly scarved, we went to meet our camels: Bob Marley and Jimmy Hendrix. I got Mr. Hendrix.
|Zaid, Said, Jimmy and Bob|
|Moi and Jimmy Hendrix|
We headed out slowly — the camels’ pace was no quicker than an easy walking gait for a human. Amanda was in the lead, with a local guide walking along with the camel on a lead. Said walked alongside us, a little ways off. Now that we were going into the desert, he had donned a traditional robe and a headscarf of his own (and of which I was totally jealous — with four yards of fabric and expert wrapping, these desert boys looked awesome). The wind and dust storm persisted, but fortunately it blew from behind so it wasn’t too much of a problem in the eyes.
The desert was beautiful. The sand that felt so sharp and stinging when it blew into my eyes lay in giant, soft mounds that glowed orange and muffled the sound. Indeed, softness and silence were my principal impressions of the desert. And solitude. When you’re surrounded by golden hills of sand, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only person on the planet. The photographs (which are the best I could do while swaying back and forth on the camel) capture only part of that remarkable feeling.
Me: “Don’t cry for me Argentina”
|Kissing Bob Marley
(this was my favorite color of the great headscarves)
After about an hour of riding, we arrived at our camp. A small cluster of sturdy Berber tents made of heavy, multicolored fabric stretched over sturdy eucalyptus-wood frames. They smelled like the goat-hair they were made of and were far from the four-star luxury we’d enjoyed yesterday. But still, they offered shelter if we needed it, and a bounded sense of “chez nous” that made for a cozy feeling.