Midnight at the Oasis
A travel piece from one of our Creative Writing Group members:
….send your camel to bed.
It´s not quite like that anymore. Camels – those ships of the desert – have been replaced by pick-up trucks and 4 X 4s. But don´t let that put you off a visit to these fascinating desert lands. The rather sedate but uncomfortable camel rides have been replaced by the thrill seekers delight of ´´Dune Bashing¨. To drive a powerful 4 X 4 full pelt up a sand dune and crest the summit blind at full throttle is not a sport for the fainthearted. If you are not an adrenaline addict – or even if you are – then a visit to a Bedouin camp reveals much about how life has changed for the nomads of the desert. The man of the house – I mean tent- will have his Toyota pick-up parked outside. In the top pocket of his dish dash will be his mobile phone and a designer watch will adorn his wrist. Obviously he is a man of the modern world. But pass inside through the flap and you will realise some things never change. The traditionally dressed women of the household will greet you quietly, and smilingly offer a tiny cup of thick coffee. The shy, giggling children will offer dates and sweets. Once you are seated on the rugs on the floor you will be shown examples of the women’s handicrafts. Of course you will buy – it´s understood that this is part of the deal. Treasure these items, they are examples of true handicrafts. Using wool from their sheep or goats the women weave and sew as they have always done although their repertoire now includes phone cases and purses as well as traditional rugs. Leave the Bedouin camp to experience the desert at night. Unless you are fortunate enough to have an invitation from a local you will be on a tour organised for tourists. Don´t knock it. The Barbecue, camel rides, henna hand painting and the belly dancer are there for the entertainment of foreign visitors but they are all part of the tradition of the East. Wrap up in the rugs, lie back on the cushions and take the opportunity to gaze at the night sky. The pollution and noise of the cities are far away. Relax, let all stress drain away. Enjoy the experiences offered and come back rejuvenated