Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The dunes of Erg Chebbi (Day 11)

We were riding for the most of the morning (you can check out photos in one of my previous posts) and have made only a short stop. The first real stop for a longer rest was at a small Berber settlement. There was a group of some five tents set up, obviously in use by a small family and a herd of goats.

After a while they served us fresh salad made of tomatoes, red and green peppers, cucumbers, onions and olives. It was very refreshing and exactly what we needed at that time.

I also spotted what seemed to be some kind of a traditional Berber oven. It was standing in the opened, but was unfortunately not in use at that moment.

A young Berber boy was running around all the time, hoping to get some attention. He was quite cute and soon we were all trying to entertain him in one way or another. I for instance tried to show him how to make paper aeroplanes. He was quite excited about it... for a minute or two maybe.
Half a pack of wafers got his attention for much longer.

When the scorching heat eased for a bit, it was time to move on. We boarded our desert ships and headed for another Berber camp. We got there just before sunset.

We climbed up another dune to watch the sun set. This time we chose a smaller heap of sand. Unfortunately also the sunset couldn't measure to the spectacular sunrise in the morning. When talking to our companions from Switzerland time really flew by. We learned that being the same age in spite of growing up in a totally different country (when M. and I were kids we were living in a socialist republic of Yugoslavia) our childhoods have not been so different. We played the same games, liked similar stuff and did the same things we were not supposed to.

Before we knew it, it was time for food again. We were already quite hungry by then and whatever was on the menu, it was smelling nice.

When we dug into the Couscous we were unpleasantly surprised. We found out it was quite generously seasoned with fine desert sand. It was creaking and squeaking while we were grinding through our dinner. It was quite amusing to watch faces others were making.

Before we turned in for the night we tried to solve a bunch of impossible riddles supposedly invented by Berbers a long time ago.
If you spend your whole life in the desert it is not hard to imagine that making up impossible to solve riddles is just one of the ways to keep you going.

It was already late when we finally decided to crawl into our sleeping bags and fall asleep looking at the starry sky.


Friday, 20 March 2009

A brand new look for Travel Photo Blogging

I thought it was time for a change. Those of you who visit me more often might have noticed it already... the Travel Photo Blogging 2.0 look.

First time visitors can see the old template on the screenshot bellow.

What do you think? Is this a good change or should I have kept the old one?
I would love some feedback on what you think about it.

I spent quite some time looking for a suitable candidate among many templates on the Web. I tried a few, but none of them was as good as this one.
I had a few requirements, that I think this new template meets perfectly:

  • it had to be a Blogger compatible template

  • it had to be a two column template

  • main column had to be wider compared to the old one (larger photos look better)

  • it had to be a free template

  • it should support a banner at the very top

  • the more customizable it would be, the better

  • and last, but definitely not least, it had to look nice.

I found exactly what I needed in one of many templates at Our Blogger Templates.
They offer a wide range of nicely designed free templates and if you are looking for a new one, it's worth to take a look.
There you can also find some instructions and a few tips on how to do it properly.

I noticed something strange though... since I changed to the new template, my blog seems to be getting substantially fewer hits then before - especially from Google. That's only about 10 percent of the average from a few days ago (judging from the Google Analytics report)!

Does anybody know why this happens? Is this just a temporary thing or what? Is there something I can do about it?


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.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Label Cloud


Blog Archive