Asleep in the Nubian Desert
It is night when a bus drops us by the side of the long dark highway stretching from Khartoum to Atbara. To the left are a couple of buildings, to the right, a vast expanse of darkness stretches out - the Nubian Desert. The other passengers of the bus wonder what these three khawaaja are doing, getting out here, miles from nowhere. The conductor assures us that this is the site of the pyramids of Meroë, but with the darkness of the desert and a new moon, all we can see is black.
We picked a direction, east, and walked into the sands, away from the occasional illumination of passing vehicles. We knew not where we were, or where we were headed.
After forty five minutes of walking we find a dune, both sheltering us from the road and providing a mattress for the night. We lay down our bags and prepare supper by the light of head-torches. Silence. All that is visible are the stars, abundant above us. The Milky Way stretches across the sky, and for me, has never been so conspicuous.
And so we sleep on this dune in the cool desert air, sand below and celestial bodies above. Fingers crossed that there are no scorpions.