Sahara Sunset

The Black Desert, Egypt.

The Sahara.
Bigger than the United States. More color than a box of Crayola’s.
A nighttime sky like you’ve never seen. Daytime heat like you’ve never felt.
The sun is not called the sun here. I call it the blazing ball of fiery hell.
…spend a few months under it, you probably will too.
It rises, and you feel it …and I mean feel it. It’s so hot that you can almost hear it.
It falls, and so does the temperature. 

The desert, it’s almost alive. It moves. It changes. It slides, it slithers.
What was there one day is gone the next.
What wasn’t there last night is here now.
You camp in a flat plain one night and wake up in the morning between dunes of sand.
You wake up to multiple sets of animal tracks around your door.
You hear sounds you’ve never heard. See the sky like you’ve never seen.
People, cultures and tribes you never knew existed.
In the sky at night, nebulas and stars that you didn’t know one could see.

There are a countless number of other things also. The small things that combine to make it what it is.
The scorpions, the fenec foxes scampering around camp at night.
Turning the corner, only to run smack into the side of an ancient pyramid, a palm fringed oasis, a group of AK wielding rebels, a family of nomads. The Tuareg …ahhh, the Tuareg.
Maybe the toughest bunch of people I’ve ever seen. A very appropriate people for the place.

 It may not be the sandiest, the hottest, the lowest or the …whatever.
But it definitely is “The” Desert of Deserts.
Below is a second in the life of it…

 November 28, 2007

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5 comments on “Sahara Sunset

  1. both this poem and the photograph are beautiful. the clouds and how they are glowing in the sunset are unbelievable. wish i could be there =)

  2. Wow, that looks awesome. and…

    “You camp in a flat plain one night and wake up in the morning between dunes of sand.” … is that true?

    I’ve been real busy the past week and havn’t had a chance to look into traveling to Mali, I’m going to have to do this tomorrow. Also havn’t had the chance to write anything, ill have to do that too haha.
    nate

    • Nate …it is true in certain places, depending on how fine the sand is and how windy it was that night. In northern Sudan there were a few places where the sand was like dust and a few tents and truck would cause it to pile into 4 or 5 foot dunes overhight …of course you would also wake up covered in sand, in the tent, in your mouth, hair, ears and covering everything …no matter how hard you tried to keep it out.

      If you ever get to Meroe, in Sudan, spend some time in the hills surrounding it – the sand is so fine that there are actual “waterfalls” made of sand where the wind is blowing the sand up faster than the sand can fall down… Dunes of quicksand that you instantly sink up to your waist in when you step into …scared the hell out of me, thats for sure.

      Thanks for comment,
      John

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