Wednesday, July 26, 2017

15 يوم - Erg Chigaga

When we awoke it was still cool (for the desert).  We had triple digits to look forward to again today, with no escape.  We are to spend the entire day in the Saharan desert.

But this is a big reason that we are here!

Nomad school this way, eventually... 

There are wells throughout the desert, paid for by nomads, not the government.  They are typically occupied, which is good because you don't want a dromedary accidentally falling in and contaminating the well indefinitely (this is precisely what happened to a well we drove past).

We stopped at a nomad house, the family of someone who works at the desert camp.
Technically nomads are not supposed to have houses since they don't own property nor pay taxes, but some nomads have built houses against the wishes of the government.
This is a much easier life.

We were offered tea (although it cost us 2 euro), it would be rude to refuse.
Even though the tea is made with well water...

The concept is nothing less than unappetizing but we survived, parasite free (we think).

Tea with a view- worth every euro.

A nomad school is better than no school.
It is finding the teacher that is difficult (no, I am not volunteering).
They try to rope in someone from the city, and hope they stay for the year.
There is no school over summer vacation, but with no locks on the door we could walk right in.

Who needs a classroom?  The best learning happens outside!

Another Saharan well- watch your step, dromedary! 

We went to another nomad house, someone else that Lahsen knew, for more tea.  But (phew!) the parents weren't home.  The mother had left with the donkey for water and the father went to the city.  The three children (the youngest about four) would just have to wait for their return.

This wall is part of an ancient Berber trading route, located in the middle of the desert.

The last stop on our tour, not more then twenty minutes from the wall, was an oasis.  Before coming to the Sahara I had no idea what an oasis was.  I mean, I have seen enough cartoons to know it is a place in the desert with trees and water, but what I didn't realize is that it is used to escape the heat.  We spent hours here, were lunch was served, napping, reading, watching the time go by, until it was finally a decent temperature to return to camp.  

More salad that I shouldn't eat... it was really good though!

The oasis was kind to us, but not so kind to the young French couple, who like us, came for lunch, but unlike us, asked their driver to leave them there, saying they would get a ride out when they could a few days later.  They didn't even make it two days before the man collapsed right in front of us due to heat exhaustion (or maybe because they just went for it and, due to lack of bottled water, started drinking water directly from the well!).  He looked miserable, it was painful to watch.  Hopefully they made it out okay.  Our driver said he would never leave anyone like that, regardless of what the client said- you bring people into the desert, you bring them out.  A guide knows the land better than a client.

After returning to camp, before sunset, we rode a dromedary.
They stand up and sit down oddly, and go down hills like butter melting in a tilted pan, but other than that, I actually like riding them more than horses.

Okay, so it is super touristy, but it is much better than walking through the dunes to see the sunset.

1 comment:

  1. There is simply way to much in here for me to remember everything I want to say. First off, why to have the best guide who wouldn't leave you. I feel so bad for the French dude. Wow. How scary. I wonder what happened to him. Scary.

    The photos are absolutely breathtaking. You have such talent. It all looks like something from a movie. I just can't believe how amazing everything is. So far from my reality. Wow.

    Favorite photo: the shadows. OMG. Thank you for all of this. Wow.


Leave your comments/questions/opinions here... I will get right back to you.