Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday, October 11, 2013

Berber night under the stars

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM
A short drive later, we reached the settlement of Merzouga, at the edge of Erg Chebbi, among the dunes of the Sahara. The Auberg Touareg looked like a kasbah with an enormous Sahara dune as backdrop. The rooms had big bathrooms with separate toilet and a grand shower, a sitting area and huge bedroom with built-in closet. Too bad I wasnt going to sleep in the room. The 4x4 drive only took us to dune viewpoints. I was hoping to get into the dunes to sink my feet into the fine sand. From afar, the dunes were nowhere as spectacular as the ones in the Arabian Peninsula. We visited an arab camp and then a Berber camp where we were offered Berber music and dance. Not interested. Like Joann has forewarned, the 4x4 was a waste of time and money.

We got on camels and caravan'd into the dunes to get to our Berber camp. Never liked camels and like less riding them. The forward and backwards swaying was nauseating and my inner thighs hurt. T had a faddish about riding on animals so he walked the whole way instead. The Sahara sand banks were orange color, not quite as high as the dunes in Oman and not as vast. I couldnt wait to feel the sand on my feet. I'd wanted to jump from my camel and roll in the sand. We started late and missed the glorious sunset. Our camel driver simply stopped us on a spot and told us to watch the sunset. We could barely see it from where we stopped. Someone reminded me of taking a picture of our shadows on the sand and I snapped quite a few. an hour and 15 minutes later we arrived at our Berber camp. Just like in the tripadvisor's pictures, the camp was composed of 5 or 6 black tents arranged in a square, with tables and stools at the center. a little afar was the latrine tent. Aziz and others who came in the truck were already there and had the table set up and the light on for us. We brought our wines and started with biscuits. I brought Small Leo who's never been to the desert before. GreenEye Leo had been to the Wahiba Sands and so Small Leo was ecstatic to be there. We were served a steamy soup and chicken couscous, followed by melons and mint tea. T said he would sleep under the stars, and so we pulled the mattresses out from the tents. They started an enormous fire and Aziz, our camel driver and the cook started playing the Berber drums. lying down on our mattresses and covered with woolen blankets, We've enjoyed the music. When the music died down, the captivating silence of the desert took over. The moon was almost full and the pitch black sky was painted with brilliant stars. Very much like in the Wahiba Sands. The night wasnt cold but a cool breeze picked up in the middle of the night that I had to turn my face away from it.All my years of camping, I've never slept in the open before. I opened my eyes and saw the star right above me on the black sky. The absolute silence of the desert was bewitching. I've enjoyed the camp in the Sahara but the experience wasnt as good and memorable as in Oman. I knew this was more rustic, but glad I've decided to endure it.

See the Sahara pictures:




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