Following on from last weeks instalment about our adventures in September 2004, this weeks sees us entering the Sahara Desert
After 6 days we had finally settled into a routine, over breakfast in our wild camp in the morning we would have a quick briefing of our journey for the day. Our leader would give us a series of map co-ordinates ending in a rendezvous point in the evening, it was up to us to decide when we left and how long we took.
There was one occasion when he made me highlight one particular co-ordinate and told me he couldn’t guarantee our safety if we missed this turn off from the track, the village beyond it was basically dangerous and we should not be going through it. At that very moment my navigation skills went from adequate to expert.
crumbling road ahead
The ‘roads’, if you could call them that, were at times barely passable and were literally crumbling as we drove across them. We learned to drive dead slow through the tiny villages as kids would run alongside the road calling for pens or sweets and would throw stones if we drove to fast.
If you drove too slowly though you ran the risk of getting an uninvited hitchhiker jumping on the roof to catch a ride or check out what you had in the boxes on the roof rack! Everything, even our water tap, had a padlock on it.
Entering the Sahara at the end of day 6 was an experience that will stay with me forever it was so hot (50C) and so dry that it literally zapped every drop of moisture out of you, but it was breathtakingly stunning to look at and we needed to have one of those ‘pinch me’ moments when we start to doubt the reality of what we saw. We spent two full days playing in the sands of the desert, learning off-roading skills getting stuck on the top of huge sand dunes and really putting our car through it’s paces.
Camping in the dunes
Those few days in the Sahara was a once in a lifetime experience that will stay with me forever.
I’m not usually controversial but here goes… many people may think they had the best mentor when they began blogging but they are wrong because I did. This post is dedicated to Mama Syder, the best blogging mentor ever!
Like many expats I struggle with periods of homesickness. Our first year had been busy, finding our feet and getting into a routine. Hubby couldn’t settle into a job after 11 years as his own boss so he was often around the house. Just over a year in and the kids go back to school after 2 months off, my best expat friend returns to work after her maternity leave ends and husband finds himself a new job. Homesickness hits me like a sledgehammer. I missed my family, my friends and I was sick and tired of being on my own so I start to investigate work and going to college but nothing seems to fit in with the kids. Sure, our eldest in old enough to come and go as he pleases but youngest is only 11 and too young to be left on his own for any period of time. I can’t find anything. I volunteer at our youngest sons school three days a week but the only thing I have gotten out of that is an intimate relationship with the photocopier. A skype conversation with the family back in England and Mama Syder suggests I start a blog to connect with other expats and to keep me busy. Great idea, just what I needed to keep me sane.
Me, Mama Syder & the kids 1996
Mama and I have been friends, as well as related by marriage, for over 20 years and although there were times when we didn’t communicate much she always was one of those people I could share absolutely anything with, no censorship needed. We’re very different in many ways but share the same values where it counts. We watched our kids grow up together, she was amazing when my eldest was born (boy was he a tough baby) and we shared the worst moment of both our lives.
Mama Syder & my eldest 1994
She has a fantastic blog, which is so honest it makes you go through every possible emotion; it makes me laugh, smile, cry and everything in between. She gives great tips on thrifty living and shares her beautiful photos.
She has answered my emails queries at crazy times of night and supported me step by step through every phase of setting up my blog. So today I want to say Thank You to the best mentor ever, Mama Syder. You’re the best!