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Sailing in Sahara on Kamal

Fri, Jan 15, 2010

Morocco

Holiday was perfectly planned and set by us.

All we wanted to do was chill out, relax, spend leisure time and booze and have fu. No adventures, just relaxing and lounging. That was the Plan A.

As per the plan A, we went to Morocco and stayed in Muran resort in Marrakech. What a hotel it was! We were completely bowled over by the look and chic of the hotel and fell in awe of it sinful red swimming pool. Our plan A was in full action and we were having fun time. We were simply having leisure time and fun with no sports or adventure. But then when do we stick with our plans. I mean just imagine living in riyad, with all amenities and facilities we got fascinated with Desert! The bloody desert! I shrieked and I shouted when all these idiots decided we are going out trekking and camping in desert. How can a rose (that’s my name too) survive desert, I would become a thorny cactus. Just imagine my just done nails and hair, how can they take a mermaid of this red heaven pool into the devil of desert. Hell!

Now Plan B

These funky idiots decided to go trekking, or Caravan if I call it in its traditional name. The hotel provided for the jeep to reach Ouarzazate, which was basically the starting point where all the people and camels for the caravan get together, for trans-Saharan camel trekking. We were joined by some other enthusiastic people who all wanted to go on adventure of desert; all the passengers were from different walks of life. And I was petrified and terrified of the camel. I wasn’t much impressed with the beast. I really didn’t like those camels. Tall, dark and definitely not handsome. It was my first experience to see the camel up so close and I had never ridden a camel. But when the guides came in and started getting people comfortable, preparing them for the nomadic life they going to have for the trek of two days. I let my inhibitions, fear and reticence go and from time on I was myself excited to go this Caravan. I was riding the camel named Kamal. That’s some Arabic name I suppose. We didn’t had to steer our camels, guides were all there to help us out with the desert and camel. With our loaded luggage, food and equipment we started out first day travel to our camp that was some place in desert. Had I got lost I couldn’t have found myself back to caravan.

We were taught how to tie Shesh- the headscarf typically worn by nomadic people here to save our self from sun and sand. That is how the Sahara deserts’ Bedouin and Toureg nomads wear it. The caravan was set in earnest and as each member had their own camel, we rode in single file- along with us were the camelsteers on foot, porters, guides and camels carrying our luggage. As we were moving more into the desert and the city with amenities and modern technology disappeared, we were laid back to thousands of years back in traditions of desert caravan. Though we were here for fun and add on excitement and exploring of desert with leisure and guides. Moreover we didn’t had to search oasis, we were all carrying mineral bottles of water and were not just having dates but ceareal bars too. With my nikicam (Nikon Camera) I was taking the various pics of deserts, its nomadic lifestyle and sand formations around. We were feeling like nomads our self with the kind of traditional trek that we had planned. I would love to say the view was panoramic and kamal was a lovely mate. The ride itself was fun, I was amazed as how did these guides know which way to take, and I mean it was all sand all over the place, all so same nothing different. Taking on the route that was following running River through Draa Valley we saw scenic scenery of diversity in desert. A desert is an ocean of sand with secluded Oasis, water and bit of greenery, being a rare site. The magnificent desert landscape, along the way we saw sand dunes up to 50 feet high, their curves and as we climbed the dunes at sunset we watched the light and color of sand change. There were these rock formations as if they have been made to grow from the ground, and these are the natural check points guiding people on their route. We came across village where people still lived in primitive ways going about to fill water from wells. We saw crumbling Kasbahs.


An Arabian adventure, riding on Camels like Berber nomads it was one great experience.

As the night fall and we reached the campsite traditional Bedouin tents were resurrected for us to rest and sleep while authentic and spicy Berber Tagine was prepared over an open fire. The meal had soup, couscous and mint tea additional to Tagine. After the meal we sat by bonfire and heard the distance drumming voice carried over by unstoppable wind. I took an opportunity to lay down in soft golden sand. It felt cool on the back, and as I lay gazing the sky lit with millions of stars, as sparkle has spread across the sky. It was very beautiful and romantic, I never know when I will able to see such a marvel. So completely different, because in city we don’t have time to look over to the vast sky nor can we see this beauty. Whatever were my views of this trek got all lost when we started but this night, the sky will be remembered life long. I was too happy , to feel so close to nature and moreover I was relaxing rather then just boozing or making fun. this was more calm and relaxing. The experience should be taken, it puts into perspective as to what values we are attaching to possessions rather then nature and people. The camel Kamal was better acquaintance; he bowed and sits even when I said him to do so. How we keep running for success and forget the values and people in the race. The trip had made some changes in us as when we went back.

The city, its vehicles and noise was all chaos. The hotel was like fun again with that swimming pool being the most favored place thereafter. Yet we loved the time in desert and it was an experience that you ought to take once in lifetime.




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