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Desert Days

There are times. when we’re out of the country, that I miss the Germaness of our life.

And yes, by ‘Germaness’, I mean all those horrible cliche’s and stereotypes that most Auslanders (foreigners) associate with German culture. But I’m refering particularly to the ones that revolve around ‘order’, ‘punctuality’ and ‘planning’.

I don’t miss them often, but ...there are times.

And it might sound strange to you, but one of those times, was when we woke up here:

Erg Chebbi, the small desert of Morocco, right on the border of Algeria.

Our ‘desert package’ included, among other things, a ‘sunrise excursion’ through the sand dunes.So it was a mighty surprise to us when we woke up- after a restless and freezing cold night- to find that the sun had already risen.

Worse, the camp looked pretty empty.

We checked the other tents, only to find that Guillermo, our new travelling buddy, had already left. The German couple, and the other small group were also absent- and I started to panic that everyone had gone hiking up a hill (or worse, left!) without us.

At least the camels were still in position.

But then we saw some people walking back towards us- so we headed out onto the dunes. It turned out to be the German and after we all threw around the phrase ‘this would never happen in Germany’, we realised that the lack of organisation had taken everyone by surprise. They had woken up to see a small group of people already setting off into the dunes, and raced to follow. Seeing them at a distance, Guillermo guessed it was Andy and I, and set off after ‘us’.


We decided it was our turn to walk the desert waves.



There were hundreds of small tracks, made by many different tiny animals during the night.
And also lots of larger tracks, made by not-so-tiny, not-so-animals.

Regardless, it was a pretty breathtaking scene.

We caught up with Guillermo…



^Can you see them?

I took a separate path up the mountain to the men, partially to get some snaps of them, but also to avoid ‘slowing up the team’. There are times when having one lung seems to be really limiting: mostly when going up a hill or many stairs.

In the end, my path became impossibly steep, and I couldn’t make it all the way to the very top.

^Looks close huh?

Not so much:


So I sat, and waited, and watched the desert.




I was feeling a bit guilty about the huge tracks I had made in my journey up the hill- thinking about the rather fragile ecosystem of the desert- and (in Australia anyway) the reliance of this balance on the crust of lichen that stabilises the sand.
But then four glistening beetles appeared to somewhat assuage my guilt.







When we made it back to the camp, everyone was awake, packed up, and waiting for a second chance to board the camels.


So we headed back to the desert edge.





Camel-selfie. It’s a new thing for 2015.









We spend the rest of the day lounging, and reading by the pool.

There was an awkward moment when one of the berber men talking to us, asked us to come and see something amazing. It was stuff that he wanted to sell, and when we- I beleive politely- told him that we were not interested, he apologised so profusely that we all felt strongly conflicting emotions and reconsidered the tourist-native power balance in morocco.


We went for a walk around sunset, saw some chickens and talked a lot.

And then day switched back to night.








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