23 May 2024

This is the first time we’ve camped in ‘real’ desert. There are sand dunes, pretty small ones, and the sand is silky soft and deep. You can see the effect of the wind with the characteristic patterns in the sand. Some areas are flat and more compacted and I pitched my tent in one of these.

I keep expecting to see Lawrence of Arabia coming riding over the dunes….

There is a new moon tonight and the stars seem very bright. I left the flysheet off my tent so I could lie in bed and gaze at the stars through the transparent mesh on the top of the tent. However, it started getting a bit chilly, so I put it back on again. The side door is also mesh, so I can see through it anyway.

(Please click on any thumbnail above to enlarge the whole gallery for full size sliding photos)

I keep everything zipped closed to avoid any of the locals from coming in uninvited. These would include scorpions, snakes and spiders. There are huge ugly looking camel spiders around here who have a painful nip, I’ve been told. I also need to keep my eyes open when walking around as there are plenty of little beasties around. They just love wriggly Irish toes. Not to mention paperwhite Irish legs.

By the way, did you know that Irish legs are the whitest objects in the universe. Most people think paper or milk is white but they’re actually a very very very very light cream or fawn or sometimes a very very very very very faint pinkish beige. Only Irish legs can claim to be very very very very white. So there.

Two of our trip mates left today, John from UK and Carol from Canada. Two fine decent people who will be missed and we all feel a bit flat following their departure. It’s really amazing how close you can get to people on these overlander trips. There are only 14 of us left now and 2 more depart in Kuwait in about 10 days time.

There were also 2 birthdays today, Alli from Canada and Mark from UK. We had a lovely dinner and CAKE 🎂 and then more CAKE.

It’s now morning and we had breakfast, broke camp and stowed all the gear away. I slept well. It was quite chilly in the night but I was snug as a bug in a rug due to my warm 4 season sleeping bag, which I used as a blanket.

I read a book on my Kindle until around 10:30pm. Just as I was dropping off, I heard a strange screeching noise like a large bird or a cat. I shone my torch around but couldn’t see anything. It seemed like it was circling around the campsite. This morning I saw fresh pawmarks in the sand near my tent so it might have been a cat after all. I’ve included a pic above. How exciting. I’d love to see an Arabian Leopard but they are very rare and elusive.

Off now to the Empty Quarter of sand and silence.

NOTE to Lawrence of Arabia: I’ll be in the green tent; in case you have a mind….

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