Erg Chebbi Camping
Jul 25, 2008
|July 25 2008
The previous night was pretty hot, so when everyone woke up they took a cold shower. Bob started off since he was first up, and he ran the shower for 30 minutes until it got cold. I guess the pipes take a while to cool down. We headed out to breakfast, which had a nice surprise. Along with the usual suspects on the table, a bowl of hard boiled eggs had appeared. This is a nice treat, since the only egg we have had was in the Tangine from the night before. The mint tea is still a disappointment this morning, oh well.
After breakfast we head back to the room to lotion up with sunblock. We have decided to spend a good portion of our day playing in the pool with the camel. The pool at the Kasbah has a laying camel that spits water into the pool. We lay out our things and jump in since the deepest portion is only 4 foot deep. A lot of horsing around and swimming commence. There was a lot of splashing, flipping, dunking, and wrestling in the pool. About every 30-45 minutes we got out to air and sun dry and then re-apply sunblock. Even with this precaution, Joseph got a little to much sun.
We had lunch in the atrim which was filled with plants, a fountain, and a cat. Bob is not a fan of cats, so he was hissing and shooing the cat often. We decided there was a language issue, because the cat just stared at Bob, rather than running away like american cats. Our lunch was a simple platter of different types of melon and some water. As we relaxed in the atrim afterwards, more guests began to arrive. Two couples from Holland, and eventually followed by a third couple. None of them were traveling together, so we figure a popular location for Holland travel agencies. We told them about the pool, and eventually everyone ended up lounging around the pool for the 3 hours until our trip.
A local boy was horsing around in the pool as well. Joseph ended up snorkeling with him for a while. When we left the pool, we gave him one of the masks as a gift. Bob and I took a 20 minute trip down the road to a Berber shop to buy turbines, or headscarves. We have gotten good at the bargaining and simply stuck to 50% and started walking out. We got our 3 scarves at 50% without to much bargaining. I guess he could tell we really didn’t care about the scarves, and since it was the only reason we had come to buy in the first place, he didn’t haggle too much about price. When we got back to the Kasbah, Bob and I packed the overnight bags.
While waiting for the camels to be prepped we discovered that we would have to pack in our own water. This ended up not being to much of a problem, but it would have been nice to know ahead of time. Everyone was weighted down with their water as we headed to the camels. I think Joseph was the first one up on the Camel. Camels do not get up gracefully, they lurch. Seeing Joseph go up first, gave Bob the idea to really hold on since he was the next one up. Joseph thought it was a great time. Bob said he was white knuckling it the whole trip. The one thing the entire group was doing was taking photos. Almost everyone had a camera and was snapping pictures like mad. I thought this would be great, since I had my laptop, I could copy pictures from other members of the group of Bob, Joseph, and me. Then I could copy the pictures of them onto their cards. This idea was great, until we got to camp and found my battery dead in the laptop.
Oh wait, I skipped the part were we had a small rain shower in the desert. This was the first rain we have had this entire trip, and it was in the Erg Chebbi Dunes. I know they are not actually part of the Sahara, but they are from the same sands and the distance to the Sahara is miniscule. It started sprinkling as we were coming to the rest area, a short break we take before going on to camp. When we were all off of the camels, you could see the rain dotting the sands. Several of us in the group were hoping for a real downpour, just for the experience. We were happy even though we only got a lite shower. One negative on at the rest area, one of the Camels nipped at Bob. The guide quickly tied it’s head tight to the camel in front of it so it had no slack in it’s rope. This re-affirmed for Bob that these animals are considered to be bad tempered.
We arrive in camp around 8:30. Everyone is directed to their tents, where we all just toss our stuff onto the mats. We all congregate around the tables to talk and get acquainted, and hope get our dinner. The guides bring back a Moroccan tea and two dishes of peanuts. We get moved into the dining tent, because the wind has picked up and the guide thinks it best to eat indoors. This lifts everyone’s spirits, because we are all hungry. The jokes about the food start around 9:30, and increase again at around 10. The meal finally begins at 10:30 with a legume soup. It was mostly a bland bean soup. The Tagine is next and is chicken with vegitables. Joseph did not make it past the soup, his head was hurting and he decided to lay down. His head was hurting from an earlier injury he had received in the pool at the hands of his father. That’s right, while flipping Joseph around in the pool, he hit his head on the bottom. So, he missed out on dinner, which really wasn’t anything spectacular.
It is amazing what you come to expect after eating at Judith’s camping expeditions. She should send this Kasbah some cooking tips. The Tagine was only picked at, and a lot of the soup bowls went back with soup. The only item completely eaten was the melon which came at the end of the meal. Half of the group moved outside to the table. Bob and I sat with Jvan and Samira in the dining tent, and had a nice conversation getting to know a little about each other. I went to check on Joseph in the tent and got caught up in the stars outside. One of the guides was pointing out where star constellations were located. Soon everyone was gathered around the outside table to stargaze. I decided to take a walk and get away from the tent lights to see if it would be brighter on top of the dune.
The stars were only marginally brighter up there, but the blowing wind drowned out all other sounds. I also had the pleasure of watching the stars with one of the camels who had also decided to climb up this particular dune next to the camp. I think this was my favorite camel, because he liked to sneak into camp and rub his neck on the fence. I decided to rejoin the group. After an hour of sitting around conversing everyone started to turn in. Jvan, Samira, and I decided to take a trip to the top of the sand dune. We snapped only a couple of pictures and mainly just reclined in the sand and looked up at the stars. My favorite camel joined us once again, and we got one picture of him in the background, but it ended up being just an eye behind Samira and Jvan. I stayed on the dune with the camel for a little longer after the others went back to camp.
I took a little walk about and you get a real sense of the nothingness that surrounds you when you walk over a dune and can no longer see the camp. I however had my trusty traveling camel along for the walk. I followed my camel back to camp, but was blocked from entering when he decided to block the entrance to rub his neck. When I walked to the side of the fence and told him he would get in trouble, he stretched his long neck toward me and just stared. When he finally moved I ran into Samira and Jvan at the table, they thought it pretty funny that the camel and I had a moment. The clouds had slowly rolled in and many of the stars were obscured, so it was time to turn in.