Monday, October 6, 2014

Tunisia Trip Day 6

(10/12/2014: updated with photos)

The Sahara Desert. It's hot and sandy and really big. For some reason, the closer we are, the less chance that our hotel has working AC. This is irritating since we paid extra for AC at our desert camp, and also having an en suite bathroom. I don't care much about the bathroom but really wanted the AC.

I'm lying in bed typing again. We're staying at a place called Diar Ghilane which is a small "hotel" at the northern edge of the Ksar Ghilane oasis. Of course there is no WiFi so I'll have to upload this later. Today began in Tozeur and after breakfast we drove through the Chott el-Jerid salt lake to Douz, stopping along the way at a natural hot spring. This water is cooled then used for irrigation and probably feeds the towns. That's why the water in this part of Tunisia smells like rotten eggs. Man, it's hot here in the Sahara, even at night.

Each room had a name; mine was El Mida

Water from the rain last night, otherwise it would be all dried up

Help, I need water

Building to cool the hot spring water; it was steaming at the top but cooled enough at the bottom for us to soak our legs in pools

Further cooling before sending the water to town

At Douz, we visited the Sahara Museum which is really just one room of exhibits but the AC was nice. We then stopped at an camel/ATV/ultralight rental place; a few of us rented ATVs and a guide took us a bit into the desert. It was pretty fun though I didn't get to drive that much (2 people on each ATV) but I did shoot some video as a passenger; I will edit an upload when I get home. Next was lunch at a small family restaurant with the same three traditional Tunisian courses: soup (usually tomato based), fried pastry filled with egg, and a meat/couscous dish. This time it's chicken, all for 15 dinars/person.

Berber tent display


We chose ATVs over camels and ultralight flights

Chicken couscous... family style

After lunch, it was more driving though the desert until we arrived at Ksar Ghilane. There was a large group of French tourists here already but I think we are the only people staying at our site/hotel. Since we're right on the edge of the desert, we hiked over some sand dunes and took lots of photos, and waited for the sun to set. For dinner, the hotel manager/cook showed us how the nomads made traditional bread. Basically it was dough buried in sand and palm tree charcoal for 20 minutes. It was pretty good though a bit sandy. They served us soup and lamb stew with vegetables. I don't really like lamb but this was ok.

Camel crossing

Spring fed pool at hotel; the water was warm

Wanna ride?

Desert view from hotel rooftop

Sunset/moonrise over desert

Making traditional bread by burying dough in sand and wood charcoal; wish he spent a bit more effort brushing off the sand after taking the bread out of the "oven"

For the last hour, another person in our group and I were trying to take pictures of stars since we're in the middle of nowhere in Africa. However, there was still a bit of light pollution, mostly from a 3/4 full moon. We're getting up at 4:30 am to try again.

Too much moonlighht

1 comment:

hogsman said...

enjoying the updates - keep 'em coming.