Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Sahara M'Hamid, Morocco, Monday, 05 January 2009 8:57pm

I'm in the Sahara! We got to the big dunes at about five, and Mo and Julia and I walked out into the desert to watch the sunset from the biggest dune in the area.

We started the day with breakfast at the bivouac outside of Zagora, then rode dromedaries for an hour and a half to get back into town. From there we rode in the 4WD towards M'Hamid.

We stopped in T—— to take a tour of the historical library. There are two very old Korans written on gazelle skin, and a variety of other books on various subjects: Islamic law, biology, mathematics, astronomy, and poetry. Many of the books are brilliantly illuminated in colored ink and gold leaf.

We also visited the local pottery workshop, where we got to see bowls being thrown on a pedal-powered wheel, and the various states of firing for this region's signature green glaze.

We had lunch at a nice hotel by a sapphire swimming pool, and then headed off-road into the desert. We passed over sandy scrub-brush terrain and rocky near-barren landscapes. At a stop, Julia asked if we could ride on the roof of the 4x4 instead of inside, and Ali agreed. So we spent the next half hour cruising along in the open air.

We stopped at an oasis, where a natural spring makes a small stream and a little pool filled with tadpoles and small frogs. One of the frogs was calm enough that I was able to touch him as he sat under water.

Our next stop was a luxurious bivouac in the tall dunes. We three are the only guests in an encampment that could easily house forty, so we each have a tent cabin to ourself.

We left the camp almost immediately, to go walk out into the dunes. They're more solid than I had imagined. The sand holds together well, and when I walked barefoot on it, I was sometimes able to avoid breaking the surface with each step. The dunes are huge, and the play of light on them at sunset was amazing.

Mo was kind enough to carry my camera and shoes for a little way, so I somersaulted down a huge dune and lay at the bottom for a minute with the world spinning around me.

The stars were out before we got back to camp. The night is practically silent here. We made up for it by talking about music and playing tunes on our various cell phones and MP3 players. Ali is fond of the phrase "Hey, Ho! Let's go!", so I played "Blitzkrieg Bop" for him.


missorangegirl (Anonymously) Monday, 12 January 2009 10:09pm

Yay! I love somersaults, especially down dunes.