16 June 2024

Our bushcamp tonight. We arrived after several hours bumping around in the back of the bus. I think my spine has deformed enough now so that the seat is a little more comfortable. When we dismounted from the bus, the air was noticeably chilly, but not cold. We did the usual kitchen stuff and setup camp

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When we had set up camp and as we were preparing dinner, the military pulled up and told us we could not use tents. We pretended not to understand, a very useful skill that, and they drove away. This gave us time to have dinner and tidy up. We had chichen ‘surprise’ and mashed spuds. Good winter food

It’s now 8pm and a bit chilly so we’ve all gone to our tents. We’re hoping the military don’t come back and order us to leave. It’s quite shocking that soldiers have such power over civilians but, then, Saudi Arabia isn’t a democratic place and this is their norm.

There’s a new moon tonight and the sky is spectacular. I took some pix on the night setting on my new Pixel 7 Pro mobile phone. They came out OK.

A dog , or dogs, nearby, have being barking hysterically and continuously since we arrived, although they seem to be getting a bit barked out now. I hope they don’t go on all night.

It’s now morning and I slept like a log last night. The military didn’t come back and the dogs had stopped barking. I was spark out at 9pm and up at 5.30am.

I had an odd dream that the military had come back with flamethrowers and set my tent alight. I couldn’t find the zip on my sleeping bag to escape. Then I half awoke and realised it was a dream and went back to sleep again. It was obviously an anxiety dream related to the uncertainty that the military might come back and order us off the site. That coupled with the amazingly red sunset gave my imagination lots of material. My hippocampus took the bait but my amygdala didn’t.

It was dark when I got up and as I was answering a call of nature, I had my head torch on and noticed that my breath was a plume of fog. I’m glad I packed my down jacket and a hat I bought at the World Nomad Games a few years ago. It’s felt and designed for the cold mountain air of Kyrgyzstan.

Off again for a 250km leg until out next stop. The rising sun is casting lovely shadows in the dunes. They seem to stretch for a long way until they connect with a wall of mist in the distance.

The sand here is different. It a redder colour and a bit bourse. There are no rocks or stones and occasional isolated clumps of tough looking grass.

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

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