Over one last dune and our campsite was revealed. At first I was a little taken aback by the semi-permanent burlap structures? Like, where are the zip up, repel everything tents? But then as I thought about it, I was glad to keep it "real". We got off our camels, and walked up one more dune. I swear I was walking funny and feared that the camel ride had done permanent damage. Mom, I hope you're not expecting grandkids! We walked to the top of the sand dune - so much easier without shoes! and sat at the top to watch the sun fall beyond the horizon. We saw the most beautiful display of colours : blue, red, orange pink. And we all watched in silence, totally mesmerised by the power of that moment and of the desert.
Once the sun was out of sight, and while there was still enough light to find our way, we headed back to our campsite and enjoyed a delicious tagine. The tagine was invented as a way to cook food without having to use a lot of water and in a place like the desert, that is super important. As steam rises to the top of the tagine, it cools, condensation forms on the sides and water falls back into the stew. Brilliant!
After dinner we were treated to a drum circle under the stars. Is this even real life I'm describing right now? The Berbers played music on their drums, sang songs and talk to us about what it's like to live in the desert. And since we were in a small group, there were only four of us, if felt extra special. As the evening went on and the sky got darker, we started to settle down and lay on the blankets and stared up at the stars. It was still and there was only the sound of the wind in the sand. I wish I had the words to describe the majesty of the night sky in the desert, but I just don't think the words exist. The word for stars in Berber is Etran, and the sky was covered in them. COVERED! Like spilling your silver glitter all over a black table cloth, covered. And then just when we thought it couldn't get any more spectacular a shooting star soared across the sky and brought light over the desert. We were breathless at first and then couldn't help but softly squeal in delight. How could we be THIS lucky?
And since we knew that nothing could top that marvelous display, we retired to our burlap tent. The next morning, we woke in time to watch a fiery sunrise before heading back into our tent for a quick nap before getting back on the camel. I was dreading the ride back as I was still sore from the previous day. I guess it's just something your body gets used to over time, but for a rookie like me it was rough! After another hour and a half bobbing up and down on the camel and shielding our faces from sand being blown in the wind, we had arrived back at the auberge. Leaving the desert was like waking from a dream, except this time it had actually happened and I had the sand in my ears to prove it.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to camp out with the Berbers, but if you ask me to go camping the next long weekend, I'm likely to decline. Camping isn't really my thing.