June 19, 2011

Sleeping under the stars in the Sahara | Morocco

My bum was sore within 10 minutes of sitting on the camel’s hump so I spent the whole ride swivelling around, sitting side saddle and even backwards to ease the discomfort.

Our guides joked around and seemed really jolly; Sayid kept saying “Inshallah” at the end of every sentence. It is used differently according to which country you’re in or even the area as others wouldn’t use it so freely.

As our Berber tents came into view our guide untied our camels and they roamed freely, stopping at every little shrub to feed. Some people panicked as their camels started wandering really far and the guides ended up chasing after them! My camel, who I named Arnie, was pretty chilled out though he didn’t listen to my pathetic attempts at clicking, hissing and tickling his neck to get him to move along. Camels are much more stubborn than horses!
We made it to our camp and were assigned accommodation - 6 people per tent. This worked out perfectly as we had befriended another couple, Laura and Aaron, along the way so we were sharing with people we felt comfortable with.
The tents were semi-permanent structures; 4 for sleeping with a larger communal tent for eating and dancing. After drinking some “Moroccan whiskey” (tea) we sat down to a lovely dinner cooked by our guides - chicken tagine with carrots and potatoes. Brett remarked that this food was better than what he had been eating at his 5* hotel!

I chatted with 20 year old Sayid a bit more and discovered that though he has never spent a day of his life at school, he has learnt to speak 5 languages fluently through working with tourists - Arabic, Berber, English, French and Spanish. He even strung together some Dutch sentences for me!

Chris and I felt gross so we had an improvised ‘desert shower’ - standing butt naked behind our tent pouring bottled water over each other, our glowing bums on full display to the Sahara. We dried off with baby wipes. Classy.

Dinner was followed by dancing and drumming around a large bonfire - a mirage amongst the dunes, shadows dancing in the sand to the beat of music from around the world.

Sleeping in the desert under the stars seems much more romantic than it really is - it was hot and sticky in our tent so we dragged our sand saturated mattresses outside. Luckily I’ve learnt to sleep any and everywhere these last couple of months in London so I slept like a baby, even if it was only for a few hours :)

The following morning we rose with the sun (and more sand), climbed a sand dune and watched as the desert came alive. 

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