A great big sandbox

It’s hard to say what’s so compelling about the Erg Chebbi dunes, other than the obvious.  The sand is so sensuous, the light and lines so abstract and evocative…IMG_1583 - Version 2

the invitation to play so irresistible.
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So we had to go back, this time to camp a couple of nights in the desert itself…
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and maybe catch another sunrise.
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Unfortunately, James had such a bad cold that he, like Zoe’s beleagured camel, barely made it to the camp before collapsing and crawling into bed.
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but the rest of us climbed the massive dune behind the camp to watch the stars rise.  I haven’t seen the Milky Way since I was a child in the Adirondacks–or perhaps a college student in Vermont.  It’s a humbling, overwhelming sight.  No camera on hand–nor would any camera we had do it any justice.
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We were cold, waiting for supper, but the food was good and the candlelight atmospheric.
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Similarly, the beds were a little lumpy and sandy, but we enjoyed yet another attempt to catch that elusive sunrise…
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even if we knew were were being a little goofy about it.IMG_1199

We stopped by to see the camels, hobbled in a way that was new to us, before getting changed.
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One hour past sunrise, and we’ve already shed about four layers.  We’re ready to demolish some breakfast!
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And after a day of visiting an Amazigh family in the dunes (see next post), we had to do it all over again.

The view from the dune down over the camp (looking like a small bush below Jeremy) is close to vertiginous.
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It’s an amazing thing, to run straight down that incline, sinking into sand half-way up your calf with every step.
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And though the Erg Chebbi dunes are pretty small–only 22 km north to south and 5-10 km east to west–you wouldn’t know it when you’re out there.
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Like the ocean, the dunes (and their visitors) have many colors and many moods…
IMG_1313 IMG_1315and we liked all of them.
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