When we arrived at the camp, we immediately hiked up a nearby sand dune to watch the sunset. I was not expecting our hike to be as difficult as it was. Halfway up the dune, everyone was gasping for breath. We finally made it up the hill, but unfortunately, the sunset was blocked by clouds. The view, however, was still phenomenal. For dinner we had more tajine and ate pomegranates and orange slices for dessert. Afterwards, we all sat around a fire and told jokes, stories, and had a blast. Then, we hiked up another dune and stargazed. I cannot even begin to explain how beautiful the stars were. You know those photos of what New York City, or Hong Kong, would look like at night without light pollution? That's how the stars looked. I saw five or six shooting stars and we could see the Milky Way. Just that view alone was worth a million dollars. Looking up at the stars at night makes me feel so small. There's this whole world around us but yet we are this tiny dot in the universe. It is mind-boggling to think about. The next morning we woke up early so we could see the sunrise on the camels. The sunrise was breathtaking and we actually saw the border to Algeria too! We arrived back at the second hotel to a warm breakfast to end our stay. We then drove back in 4-wheel drive vehicles to the first hotel. We ended up hanging outside the windows as the truck was going a good 80 km/hr and even though that is an obviously dangerous thing to do, it was so much fun (sorry mom and dad!). We got to the hotel and hung out by the pool for a couple of hours before getting back into the bus to go home.
On the way back we saw a fossil factory where they excavate and prepare fossils to be sold. The process was pretty cool and so were the polished tables and sinks they make out of the fossils. After a couple hours of driving, we stopped at a gas station to use the restroom. As we were leaving, there was a flash flood! We were stuck on the side of the road for about an hour while officials tried to figure out how to deal with the water. AUI actually has a curfew on school nights, and we will get reprimanded if we return past midnight, so we were nervous that we would not make it to campus on time. Luckily enough we arrived fifteen minutes before midnight and we ran into our dorms to clean off all the sand that managed to find its way all over our bodies and in our bags.
All in all, our trip was amazing. I can now cross off "visit the Sahara Desert" off my bucket list and I definitely want to return to see the stars again. Life here is one adventure after another, and each day is a day to be thankful for.
|Wednesday and the Sahara!|
|I still cannot get over that view.|
|Hiking up the sand dune! (this is already about halfway up)|
|Obligatory camel shadow photo|