Erg Chabbi is a beautiful Sahara spot.
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Back at the hotel, we ate. I asked Assou about henna for Hanane and he told me his sisters would come and make henna for her in the afternoon and then in the late afternoon we would mount camels and ride to the oasis for the night. For a number of reasons, they got started later than expected and by the time we were on the camels it was approaching dark.
At the oasis, I found Hanane I can relate to the Berber’s who simply want the quiet of the desert unless it is replaced with the music they make themselves.
As we sat drinking tea, at this point we began to enjoy the stars, the tajines the nomad guides made for us, and the serenity of being away from civilization.
I woke before anyone and left the camp to enjoy some solitude with the sunrise. Upon climbing the nearest dune I saw that there were a number of bivouac camps scattered around, presumably all filled with tourists. I saw two large dunes and knew that they were the best places to see the sunrise. Since I’d already spotted the other tourist camps, I chose the smaller of the two dunes knowing that the tourists would all come out and flock up the biggest dune. At this point there was no one stirring except me and a solitary figure who had just begun climbing the biggest dune. I felt sympathy that his solitude would soon be destroyed and prayed that my own would not.
Sure enough, soon there were about twenty figures from the other camps who came out, pissed, stretched, looked around, and set off for the biggest dune.
I now had a great vantage point for the sunrise and I could see the Sahara stretching for miles all around me. I watched my solitary companion on the bigger dune be overtaken, surrounded, and distracted from the moment of the sun’s birth. I chanted and meditated and prayed. I heard nothing but the wind and the sand. My sarong was wrapped around my face to protect it from the sand. I let all the pieces of my emotion fall into their proper places. I watched as the sun shyly placed it’s fingers on the tops of the distant dunes and then slowly pulled her head into the day. The sun to me is female, I don’t know exactly why. Shadows began to form and the desert came alive.
As I began down, I saw Hanane emerge from the tent. I called to her. She wanted to go to the biggest dune, but I had already found my place and so we went back up to my retreat and kissed as the warmth of the morning replaced the cool of the night in preparation for the heat of the day.
We ran down the dunes with my sarong flying between us like a banner and laughed like children while looking at each other with love.
Back in the camp we ignored the others and put on our final set of wedding clothes. A white western wedding gown my mother had sent for her and a black and grey striped Djellaba and slippers that Hanane had bought for me.
Sam-Omar and Sarah agreed once again to be our photographers and we posed in the desert. It was like a dream of seeing my Arab bride in her snow white gown sitting astride a camel and surrounded by the majesty of the dunes. My Princess.
We quietly exchanged vows in the sand dunes, smiled into each others eyes and kissed in front of the world.
Our marriage was now complete.
Hanane threw her bouquet and the friend, like a linebacker going for a fumble barrelled through the Souidi women to make sure he got it.
We changed into our trekking clothes for the caravan back.
The ride back was beautiful as the dunes awoke and the desert life prepared for the scorching hot temperatures that would soon arrive.
It was wonderful to turn and share smiles with the love of my life as we rode sure footed camels through the sands of the Sahara led by our trusted nomad friends.
Coming Soon – Our Sahara Nomad Wedding – Part 6 – The Return Home.