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A Moroccan Dining Experience

Morocco: The Lighter Side (PG13)


      The Erg Chebbi dunes near the little town of Merzouga are renowned for their great height and size. This vast pile of sand that stretches east into the Algerian Sahara has dunes that reach heights upwards of 50 meters (164 feet). Jen and I probably would not have made it to the dunes ourselves if we hadn't bumped into Nancy and Harriet; in addition, we pretty much picked up our guide accidentally by the side of the road. All this made for an incredibly serendipitous and memorable experience (see blog for details).

We snapped this picture of Yusouf by the side of the road, thinking, "Here's a chance to get a picture of a local Berber".

Little did we know it, but Yusouf turned out to be a desert guide and owned 15 camels of his own. Bumping into him was an incredible stroke of good luck.

Nancy and Harriet survey the first sight of the Erg Chebbi Dunes as we climb over the last rise in our little Pugeot 206 rental car.

Jen, Nancy, and Harriet sit atop a dune to watch the sunset while our camels are being prepared for our one night trek.

The fine sands of the dunes were shaped into all kinds of fascinating ridges and patterns.

Winston's camel bumps Nancy's elbow as we set out into the dark stillness of the desert.

Under a blanket of stars, we enjoyed a dinner of tajine poulet with our desert guide Sayid. Sleeping on the dunes under the stars was an incredible experience.

Harriet is silhouetted against a sliver of the moon in the morning sky, as we got up at 5am to watch the sunrise.

Our guide's traditional blue kaftan is common to many of the Berbers who live in the desert.

One of my favourite shots: the ripples of sand on the surface of a large dune are highlighted by the rising sun.

Sometimes the dunes were rounded on top, other times they had a sharp edge like this.

You can see where we slept in this picture; literally in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but sand as far as the eye could see.

Winston climbing a dune to get the best vantage point, shooting off ridiculous numbers of pictures on the way.

On top of the Erg Chebbi; from the top the only thing that could be seen in all directions was sand dunes.

Leave nothing but footsteps, take nothing but pictures; we did a lot of both out there!

The detailed trail of some kind of desert insect that dug itself out of the sand.

Some parts of the dunes were so hard that our footsteps made a minimal impact in them.

Our four trusted camels: not the most fulfilling existance, but we were certainly grateful for them.

Let's see... that's about a size 9 or so...

Some people have a more spiritual experience than others; in the meantime, Sayid is thinking "Who ARE these people...?"

All kinds of shapes and patterns in the sand. We have dozens of pictures, hard to choose the best ones!

Returning from a potty break, Jen gives some perspective to the dunes.

Sayid leading Jen and Winston atop our camels.

Lawrence of Arabia has got nothing on Jen

Thanks for the incredible experience, Mr. Camel!

A panorama of the great expanse of the Erg Chebbi dunes

2003-2004 Winston & Jennifer Yeung. All Rights Reserved.