Friday, 22 May 2015

The Guardian Angels of the White Desert

The Guardian Angels of the White Desert by Omar Cherif, One Lucky Soul
Once around 2005 my two younger nephews and I went camping in the White Desert by the Farafra Oasis (depression). 

To reach such distant and somewhat isolated parts of Egypt, from Cairo, one has to drive to Marsa Matruh, which is a true Mediterranean jewel with crystal clear blue lagoons and white sandy beaches. Heading South from there all alongside the borders with Libya you reach the several Oases along the magical White Desert, ending with the furthest of them all, stunning Siwa, located about 755 Km (466 mi) away — about 8 hours of driving; yet since almost everyone takes a break somewhere, often in Marsa Matruh, the overall trip could end up being a tad longer than that.

Since Siwa was not our destination no breaks were needed this time. As we arrived late at night we were exhausted and, since it was insanely windy outside, and pitch black, we decided to sleep inside the car rather than in our sleeping bags. Of course the music was on the whole night, resulting in waking up to a dead battery. In the middle of nowhere. Literally.

When you venture alone into the unknown wilderness of the deserts you always seem to bump into guarding angels. I think it may be some kind of reward from Mother Nature. Echoing with Nature loves courage by Terence McKenna. This has been an ongoing pattern in my life and in the lives of some of my friends. Though not everyone is that lucky all the time; for without proper preparation one could easily vanish into the deserts, or any wilderness for that matter.

Fortunately, this time the guardians were there for the rescue. After a few hours of debating what to do, there they were. In the middle of nowhere, we spotted a car coming towards us. We had been trying to revive the battery for quite a while but couldn’t do it. We [meaning they] tried again upon their arrival yet to no avail. Our car was a new model which needed a different kind of cable, or so I remember. The driver eventually said he'll go get something then return.

The first failed rescue attempt

We kept waiting but the man didn’t show up. A while later we saw a convoy of three Jeeps approaching our motionless vehicle. More guardian angels. Sweet. Different ones though. We felt like Tintin, Capitaine Haddock and Milou in Le Crabe aux pinces d’or (The Crab with the Golden Claws) being rescued.

As they jumpstart the battery, we chatted for a bit while bonding with some of the tourists. I took a few photos of the situation until they got us out of there to resume our journey.

Later on in the day, we bumped into the first driver. He said he came back but couldn't find us. I think he even wanted some kind of gas money as some kind of reconpensation. Being all Egyptians, we settled it without paying a pound.

The following night was spent at a camp in Bahariya, a different oasis, while during the day we visited the Black Desert. The whole trip lasted about four or five nights before heading back to Cairo.

So ten years later, Thank you Guardian Angels of the White Desert...whoever you were.

Nephews Ahmed Mazhar (L) and Seif Seif el Nasr (R) with Omar Cherif, The Guardian Angels of the White Desert, One Lucky Soul
The uncle and the two boys later on in the trip — Ahmed Mazhar (left)
and Seif Seif el Nasr (right)

Aqua Sun Camp by Omar Cherif, The Guardian Angels of the White Desert, One Lucky Soul
The famous Aqua Sun camp of Nuweiba by the Red Sea can also be found in Farafra

The White Desert by Omar Cherif, The Guardian Angels of the White Desert, One Lucky Soul
The magnificence of the White Desert

Sunset over Farafra Oasis by Omnar Cherif, The Guardian Angels of the White Desert, One Lucky Soul
Sunset view over the White Desert before we cozy in in the car

The Black Desert by Omar Cherif, The Guardian Angels of the White Desert, One Lucky Soul
The Black Desert stretches between White Desert in the south
and the Bahariya Oasis


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