Tuesday, 17 March 2009

My first desert sunrise (Day 11)

I woke up just before sunrise. I would have definitely missed it if a large number of really annoying flies wouldn't have woken me up. Most of others were still asleep. We were a relatively small group of 9 travellers and 3 Berber guides.

I wasn't sure if I should bother to wake them up or better let them sleep. Fortunately one of the Swiss girls also woke up and we decided it was a good idea to wake up the others.

I was surprised how fast a bunch of girls can get up and ready to start climbing up the tallest sandy dune in the neighborhood. And all of that just because of a sunrise. But then again... it was a sunrise in the middle of the Erg Chebbi desert.

It was quite a challenge to climb that dune. I guess it wasn't more then 200 meters high, but the sand made it a lot harder then I could tell.
For every two steps up, the sand made us slip one step back down. On top of that the air was so unbelievably dry, that I had to stop quite often to take a sip from the water bottle.
Just thinking of it still dries my mouth. And the sun was not even up yet.
I really can't imagine how it would be to do it in the middle of the day. I think I wouldn't make it or at least it would take me three times as long.

The climb took me a bit over 20 minutes. Others (including my Swiss companions, used to real mountains) took a bit longer. We were all surprisingly exhausted, but made it to the top just in time to see the so much anticipated sunrise.
In the end it was really worth it and we took some time for an extensive photo session.

Calls from our Berber guides announcing breakfast reminded us of hunger. It was a matter of seconds to get down from the top.

Until we started eating, someone had to stand at the little round table and constantly swat at countless flies, trying to share breakfast with us.
Our guides have prepared a simple yet delicious breakfast. There was soft cheese, butter, jam, honey, olive oil, bread and of course orange juice. More then enough for us. After breakfast it was still time for a cup of green tea.

In the meantime guides prepared our dromedaries for the day trip. Usually they are incorrectly called camels, not only by tourists but often even by their Berber owners.

Each of us picked a ride and off we went. It took us only a couple of minutes to be totally surrounded with sand dunes. Our campsite was nowhere to be seen and it was really quite easy to imagine how would it feel being lost in this sea of sand...

If you are wondering what happened next, you can read about the rest of this day in this post.


Michael 22 March 2009 at 16:21  

Great photos. Thanks.

The sand dunes remind me of my younger years in the Oregon Sand Dunes.


TIGERLILY 22 May 2009 at 10:20  

fantastic compositions.

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