101 things about me

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Flashback Friday


It was a bad hair day.
It was later than 1985, but I love this photo - it makes me laugh every time I see it - and it was the perfect shot for Flashback Friday this week.

I was in the Sahara desert. I did an overland trip across Africa when I was 21, and this was our fourth month on the road. It was hot. It was dusty. Needless to say, there were few showers, and even fewer during the Sahara crossing. A Dutchman also on the trip, always managed to remain well groomed - to this day, I don't know how he did it. I was the other end of the scale. I barely looked in a mirror for the entire trip, and to be honest, I didn't much care. I could never quite understand Ronald and his obsession with cleanliness, and no doubt he didn't understand me either!

On the day of this shot, we had been travelling the entire day in hot, dry and extremely dusty conditions. I had been leaning out of the side of the truck, wide eyed and entranced by the view. It was sand and dune or flat open ground, all the way to the distant watery horizon. Sometimes there were large outcrops of rock which we explored during breaks in the drive. When we got bogged, we would all climb down off the truck, lift sand mats from the side of the truck and push them under the wheels so the truck could grip. Often we would jog along side and place them in a continual trail, one after another, until we were clear.

Regularly the truck would stop so we could stretch and have a drink of water, and we would splash cold water on my faces to cool down. Eventually, late in the afternoon, I was told to take a look in the mirror and was astounded to find a stranger looking back. Layers of dust and water coated my face! I scruffed my hair a little, looked again and laughed - white eyes and shining teeth. It was a photo opportunity not to be missed.

The Sahara took me by surprise. I was expecting sand dune after sand dune and a long, slow and boring journey. It was basic. There were no road-side diners. No conveniences. There were no trees. It was us and the elements. It was hot beyond belief during the day and freezing at night. And yet we were rewarded with unexpected beauty. Rewarded with the adventure of the crossing. Rewarded with classic views and surprising variation. Rewarded with dark skies filled with bright stars. It was an amazing place. Totally beautiful.

Me? Not so beautiful...

5 comments:

Malcolm said...

Beautiful - yes... Clean???

Linny T said...

Hey thanks for the comment on my blog. Of course you can use that. I flogged it from somewhere else, can't remember now! Wow, the Sahara. Would love to get there one day. And yes, those Dutchman are strange creatures - I should know - I married one! He's a clean freak too.

Liss said...

oh wow...what an experience, who cares how you look when your out in the desert !! I think you had a good excuse :-)
I love hearing peoples travel stories. My mum had this friend when I was little who traveled the world...when ever he visited I would beg him to tell me all the stories and show me the photos.

Fiona @ Dragonfly-Crafts said...

Thank goodness you told us you were in the Sahara. Your forgiven.
Yes I agree bad hair day.
Looks like you were having fun though.
I suppose no hair-dryers out there.

truck lift pip said...

I bet your truck had a top of the line truck lift to be able to ride smoothly and comfortably in the Sahara.