Sunday, November 6, 2011

Berber Lessons...

Is it silly to think that I'm a natural when it comes to camel riding?  Notoriously awkward to ride, I felt oddly at ease atop my camels saddle, scanning the horizon of sand as we marched slowly into the sunset.  We were led into the desert by a tribe of stoic Berber men, skin the color of the dunes.  As the sun sank, our party grew quiet, and the silence of the vast Sahara swallowed us into the night. 

We arrived at camp well after dark, and stumbled bowlegged into a circle of blanketed tents.  
Seated on the sand, tajines were quickly procured and we ate communally around low wooden tables.
During dinner, my Berber lessons began. Patiently, Yadia answered all my questions of "what do you call this", and "what's that?"  By the end of the evening, I was hobbling around on my broken Berber, proficient enough to make our guides laugh, and we climbed the sand dunes to watch the stars sweep across the sky.  The sky moves faster here, whether due to the darkness, or our proximity to the equator, I do not know.  When the brightest star in the sky (Sirius? Venus? Jupiter?) had moved from the Eastern horizon far past overhead, we made our way into the tents and burrowed under blankets in the sand.