When we were in Fes, an Australian girl that knows Morocco quite well, talked wonders about the experience of sleeping in the desert, about how small we feel when we realize how vast it really is, about the impact of being side by side with mountains of sand and nothing else for miles and miles. It made us crave tremendously for that experience! Even before, the pictures on the Internet, the images from the movies, the stories of those close to me that have already been there... have made our expectations to be high; quite high!!
For that we decided to launch ourselves to a (very) long day of driving! After over 10 hours of Moroccan road behind us we started realizing the terrain was changing a bit and there were (apparently) small dunes in the landscape. The anxiety overcame the tiredness and all I wanted was to hop on a dromedary. This sounds awful, but it was how I felt, I wanted to hop on a dromedary and I'm not ashamed of it! :)
When, after more telephone calls and Kms than needed, we arrived to the base camp of the company that would lead us to the desert I couldn't help smiling. And I don't think I was the only one feeling that way.
A chit-chat with one of the responsible guys, "We'll leave you a bottle of wine, brought directly from Portugal", a big smile on his part and the gift back "I'll give you 3 bottles of water, fresh!", a smile on our part. Under that heat it was more than a fair trade to our ears!
|The dromedaries and dunes awaiting for us|
|A few minutes later that would be us!|
|Many have said that this almost looks like a picture of Mars|
And finally, I'm the first that is called to ride the dromedary. It complains (or it seems like it), it shakes a bit, but it gets up and there it is. The beginning of the desert adventure begins :)
The walk was slow and swaying, that is the way dromedaries walk, driven by Umbarack, our non poliglot berber guide. We witnessed an amazing sunset over the dunes and behind the clouds. All was missing, I have to say, was the feeling of solitude. Being a touristic area because of the desert, there were other groups that were doing similar things, going to other Bivouacs, talking just behind us. But at some point, they turn left on the dune and we turn right. And there it was. It looked like we had the desert all to ourselves :). The dunes, the sunset, all that sand... all of that to ourselves.
On the Bivouac (the desert camp) we lay the (very few) belongings that we brought with us and go out exploring the dunes. We rolled down the dunes, we climbed up and down the dunes, we sat on the dunes, we saw the night fall on the dunes, we laughed like no one could hear us! Basically, we were enjoying life on the desert!
During the night very odd things happened, a cat appeared and stayed around the camp all night, it rained after a large lightning storm (an amazing view on the desert!, btw), and... we all behaved at some point like we were high. As there was no marijuana I can only guess it was the sand, the seclusion, the silence (broken by the drums of the bivouac next to ours), the lack of running water, electricity or network, and, above all, the feeling of experiencing something like that. :)
|Our group with Umbarack, the berber guide!|
|The dinner (leftovers) and the cooks|
The next morning we had an early rise to witness the sunrise over Algeria! The first beams of light were upon us and the dunes on our backs! It was worth it... the long hours of driving behind us, the haggling in Fes, the short hours of sleep, the long hours of driving ahead of us! It was all worth it! :)
This video was shot during the time when we were desert high! What also explains the bad drumming rhythm!