Sunday, October 28, 2007


Our week-long trip to the Sahara was fabulous, one of the best of my life.
I had a lot of reservations about this sleeping in the desert thing. I have never been big on camping and I've read too much about horned vipers in the sand and scorpions.
"Do you have a tent?" our guides asked as almost the first question when we met. NO, we gasped, DO WE NEED THEM? IS THIS A PROBLEM? DON'T YOU HAVE TENTS?"
They didn't. At this time of year, you don't need them. There is little chance of rain, the animals are kept at bay by cool nighttime temperatures and all you really need is a mat and a blanket. Hmmm.
I was leery especially when I found that the mats were thin and tiny -- I have ironing board pads that are more comfortable looking. And I was also leery about the bathroom facilities. There are none. I found myself longing for the holes in the floor in Algerian newsrooms.
But then came that first night in the wild. And it's magical. It was if we'd put our ironing board pads on the floor of a planetarium. All night long the moon and planets and more stars than I have ever seen revolved in a giant bowl around us. We'd stay under the blankets but wake up every so often just to watch the sky. Shooting stars, clusters were common. Our guides told us to watch for satellites which you can see streaking across the Sahara.

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