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Egypt's Bewitching Desert Who doesn't love a good desert-mixed-with-nudity story! Thank goodness the day ended on a high.

My Scholarship entry - A local encounter that changed my life

WORLDWIDE | Monday, 16 April 2012 | Views [285] | Scholarship Entry

White Girl, White Desert

I was mistaken for thinking a desert had rolling hills that would provide protection; not for me, but for those on-board, who were in the middle of Ramadan, and weren’t enthusiastic to see my glimmering buttocks flashing around roadside.

The words “we no stop” punctuated my five hour journey to spend the night beneath a resplendent Milky Way in the centre of Egypt’s White Desert. After much excruciating leg-crossing and exaggerated bursting gestures, my release from the bus was granted and I bared all in a truly humanising moment.

Relieved, I arrived at my meeting point before boarding a 4WD and heading straight into seclusion. The Black Desert and Crystal Mountain blurred by as we drove for hours over ranges and up hills, stopping on cliffs to wonder, ponder and be amazed. The awe at the vastness of the plains we passed was matched only by the rapid changes we experienced when driving from desert to desert. Each one we came across was like opening a door to Narnia.

It was nearing sundown when we stopped and as my guide set up camp I scaled up onto the chalky-white rock formations that would be my guardians for the evening. Thousands of odd-shaped white statues - the result of numerous sandstorms - greeted me.
It was as if a child had finished with its play-dough and crawled away, leaving abstract lumps of clay, misshapen and unfinished.

To the east the sky was pink but as my eyes followed, it blended to yellow then blue then purple. It was dead silent. I tucked into rice and vegetables cooked over an open fire, as the total isolation became apparent. There were no lights in any direction and the only sounds were the hissing of the fire and the occasional fox howl.

I fell into my sleeping bag and gazed up for hours realising, like a summer fling, there was a chance I’d never see a night sky as spectacular as this again. It was almost as if the sky was white and dotted with black stars. I lost count after seeing twelve shooting stars.

Tags: egypt, travel writing scholarship 2012, white desert

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