this is the part where i get to talk about the actual desert.
i have no words.
just, wow. incredible, amazing, absolutely majestic. literally awesome, in all senses of the word. there's no way to package up the power of the dunes in words or photos or even memories. you just have to live it.
we took a camel ride, two people to one surprisingly tall, seemingly pretty angry animal. we took a lot of photos of the camels and of the scenery and of ourselves (though i don't have many photos of me yet), and just enjoyed a thrilling ride.
|camel pose ya.|
|just imagine me and tamar on the first camel looking equally ridiculous.|
|boys will be boys.|
getting to sit in both the front and the back was fun, and each offered a different perspective - but switching was scary because the camels stand up and lie down in a very jerky way that pitches you forward and backward steeply before finally straightening out.
|as the camel descends.|
i made this nice visual representation of the discomfort of trying to dismount a camel, featuring elliot and jeremy:
|getting spit on, again.|
i guess i'd forgotten how much i love deserts. the first time i visited one was the atacama in chile, a place and a trip that'll always be special to me. i'm reminded now that there is nothing that makes me happier than a couple hours with no obligations, running from dune to dune as fast as my feet can push off the softly ground orange sand that gives with each step. watching grains flow like water down the side of a cliff, eroding with the slightest disturbance into another combination of hills, shifting the dune just a bit but not altering the moonscape as the sand rearranges itself into a new formation. climbing laboriously on all fours, then descending in leaps and bounds as sand sprays with every footfall.
|can't stop won't stop.|
|figure skater after completing a routine.|
|yoga in a desert: two of my favorite things.|
|just doing an ab workout...|
lying almost vertically on a dune, as if on a cloud, feeling there would be no more comfortable position to take a nap if only the sand weren't falling down your shirt and you weren't ever so slowly, almost imperceptibly, sliding down the cliff along with the surface layer of sand.
back at the campsite, the toilets were just three-sided leaf structures behind each tent.
overall, the site was picture-perfect.
the night ended with dancing to drums around a bonfire. can't complain.
on sunday morning before heading back to st. louis, we briefly toured the lompoul village.
|picture of a marabout inside the cheikh's hut.|
|getting water from the well.|
i'm lucky to have so many adventures planned for the coming weeks. only three more weeks in west africa, but i'm making the most of it!