Camping in the White Desert
Trip Start Jan 22, 2010
15Trip End May 29, 2010
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We drove for a bit and reached the Black Desert, which to my surprise, was literally...black! The sand was covered in black rocks (iron deposits)- I really could not believe how black it was! I thought that was just a name they gave to this part of the desert, but apparently its called Black Desert for a reason. We parked somewhere and hiked up a black hill of sand and rock to what was a British house? Apparently it was used as a fortress for the British during WWII
Anyway we got back in our respective 4 x 4 and continued on our way. I was riding with Rebecca, Haley, Tamer, and Moose- I like to think we were the fun car. Our driver would purposely speed up and cruise over sand dunes, we would scream, and he would laugh like crazy. After driving for about an hour through the Black Desert we stopped at a run down shack-like place where we were going to eat lunch. We sat outside in the back on the ground around a table and ate a pretty good lunch of yogurt salad, tuna salad and pita bread. And I was oh so thrilled to find a lovely squatter in the back to use- but hey it was better than nothing, I guess. We left again and about an hour later the desert turned WHITE! I kid you not- this was the craziest thing ever!
The White desert is absolutely fascinating to look at...there are giant monuments that look like mushrooms dotting the entire area. Apparently the white is chalk rock and the mushroom formation is from the vicious sandstorms eroding the bottom of the chalk while leaving the top untouched. The white was everywhere- it looked like snow if you squinted really hard. We watched the sunset- gorgeous- and found a place to set up camp.
I should preface this part with the fact that I hate camping, I am not a fan of nature and all its bugs/ animals/ grass/ etc, and really enjoy bathrooms, showers, and beds, and warmth. The last time I went camping was when I was in Girl Scouts (not the most fun thing in my life) and this whole sleeping outside thing was challenging me in every way. But in a good way (i can say this looking back on it)
The Bedouins parked the cars so they formed a 90 degree angle. then strung up fabric to hang in front of both of the cars (it ended up looking like a tent without a top and only two sides). Then they laid out rugs on the sand and placed cushions on top and even whipped out a couple mini wooden tables. Pretty saavy. Then they began to cook dinner- they cut up tomatoes, potatoes, onions, etc. (they had a propane tank for cooking the vegetables) then started a fire. It was beginning to get really cold, and the wind was pretty fierce. We sat around the fire to get warm for a bit, then watched while the bedouin took the hot coals from the fire, placed a grill stand thingy over it and threw some raw chicken on top. Crazily enough the chicken was cooked thoroughly just by sitting above the embers- I was fascinated watching this guy do everything with his bare hands, from stoking the fire to cooking the chicken, to washing the grill stand thingy. It smelled verrrry good. We eventually sat down and they served us one of the most delicious dinners I've ever had- it was pita bread, rice, a potato veggie mixture, and then the chicken. Afterwards they made some nice hot mint tea and built another fire to sit around. I was chilling on the cushions and did not move for a really long time- it was too cold and the "walls" perfectly blocked out the wind. Unfortunately I had to go to the bathroom..let's just say that was interesting. period.
Apparently the only animals we really had to worry about were the foxes-uhhh ok
Eventually the bedouins got up and made us a breakfast with pita bread, cheese, jelly, packaged muffins, bananas and of course tea
We stopped at a 'rest stop' somewhere in the desert and out of flippin nowhere I saw a train drive by! I immediately thought of Tyler and I took many pictures, making a special effort to get the caboose :) Crazy random things happen in this desert.
We eventually got back around 8pm. The first thing I did was take a shower, brush my teeth, (it had been a couple of days) and snuggle in my nice warm bed. If Egypt has taught me one thing, and specifically camping in Egypt, it's how much I appreciate the TINIEST things in life...(such as toilets) which I am ever so thankful for. :)