Desert ships and holy warriors

13. July 2008, Sunday
33° 50' 34" N, 7° 26' 55" E

The heat is almost unbearable!
The desert sun burns mercilessly from the sky and lets the thermometer rise to 48 degrees. The sand and the rubble reflect the shimmering heat like in an oven.
We want to find coolness and shade in an oasis behind a ruined village. But something is wrong...
We're just passing a burned-out jeep when we're suddenly surrounded by holy warriors armed to the teeth.

But from the beginning:

We rented a car with Imke and Uli to get to know the interior of the country and the desert.
The further we drive inland, the more original and genuine this Arabic country becomes.
Our plan is to hire four camels and ride them to the edge of the Sahara to spend the night under the stars of the desert
We leisurely swing on the backs of dromedaries through the dunes towards the sunset.
Unfortunately, a small sandstorm prevented us from seeing the usually glowing red sundown.
The night is just gorgeous. The next morning, after breakfast, with lots of sand in the sheets and between our teeth, we ride out again, out of the "desert of deserts".
Although we only got a small foretaste of the Sahara, it was enough to give us an idea of the size of this sea of sand.
The hour-long, soporific monotony of a desert drive follows with the car. The steady hum of the turning wheels on the asphalt and the additional heat make it difficult to keep your eyes open.
With all the monotony, we almost passed our destination, the salt lake Chott El Jerid, without noticing it.
White as snow, the salt lies next to the remaining pools which, in the shimmering heat, are strangely cool in water.
We attribute this, as none of us knows better, to the chemical reaction caused by the salt during evaporation.
In the late afternoon we reach the desert city of Tozeur. Paralyzing heat welcomes us. Fanning yourself in the wind is like putting a heat gun right in your face.
Nevertheless, we roam through the old town and accidentally discover a kind of artists' cafe in a backyard. Lovingly opened, with a lovable owner who reminds us of the director of a Walldorf school and gives us girls free drumming lessons right away.
It's nice to discover such places by chance and to get to know the genuine tourist hospitality of the local people.
We stay all afternoon until late evening, eating, talking and drinking tea. A glorious day!
The alarm clock rings early in our seven-euro-per-person hotel. The breakfast is very manageable and since the temperatures, now in the early morning, have not yet reached the 40 degree mark, there's nothing to do.
There are supposed to be some mountain oases and waterfalls in the middle of the desert - and in search of these, we got caught between the holy warriors here.
Submachine guns, rifles, hand grenades, bazookas, mines and cameras!

We crashed into the middle of a movie set. The film people are nice, ask where we're from and where we're going, and we're allowed to look around the location undisturbed.
Of course we also found our three waterfalls, not very big, but waterfalls in the desert are still a great and almost surrealistic phenomenon.
On the way home we visit a few bazaars and let the whole magic of the Orient work on us.
Almost 1000 km of desert are now behind us. Impressions and experiences that happen in such a short time need a few days to process them in the brain.
This also includes the small things that you simply come across along the way.
Dozens of stalls line the roadside with sheep and goats tied up and waiting right under the eyes of passing motorists to have their throats cut, as well as their fellow sufferers who are already hanging over them with their throats cut and bleeding to death.
The many mini gas stations. Cheap fuel is smuggled in from Algeria in plastic canisters and sold here by the liter on the side of the road.
The old shoemakers in the bazaars, who have been doing their work day in and day out with love and dedication for decades.
As is so often the case on such a journey: it is difficult to write down all of this in detail. The images and experiences are still alive in our heads and each of us will interpret them differently.
Such a tour into the interior of the country is definitely recommended!