Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sahara

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Sahara is a potent, evocative reality. It is one of the world’s great brands. No one name so completely epitomises an environment. Oceans can be Atlantic or Pacific or Indian, mountains can be Himalayas or Andes or Alps, but if you want to convey desert, you only have to say ‘Sahara’. (Michael Palin, Sahara, 2002)

The Sahara announced its presence as our vehicle crossed Tizi n’Tichka, the highest mountain pass in the High Atlas that links Marrakech and Ouarzazate. I looked out the window, watching the verdant hills turn into a brooding expanse of arid peaks and shriveled shrubs. This landscape, bleak and stripped of color, continued to appear, stretching as far as I could see, revealing the beauty of the Sahara.

pise (mudbrick) villages in Morocco
Driving for hours on end through this barren terrain, passing occasional rock outcrops and mud brick villages, created in my mind the most enduring and the most evocative image of Morocco. It is not Ouarzazate’s Ksar Ait Ben Haddou, or Marrakech's famed square Jemaa el Fna, or the 11th century Chouara tanneries in Fez, or the magnificent 300-meter deep Todra Gorge. It is the heat-shimmering emptiness of the Saharan landscape that haunts me to this day.

3 comments:

Kayni D said...

I find my English comprehension impaired so excuse me if I'm getting it wrong. I've been writing papers for weeks now. Anyway, it sounds like there's a little bit daunting or eerie about the Sahara.

Angeli Picazo said...

Yes, Kayni. The Sahara desert is daunting, eerie, and mysterious. And that is precisely why i love it.

Good luck on your paper wring, by the way. :)

Kayni D said...

Research writing is coming to an end. I am so ready to get my free time and weekends back.

Would love to visit Morocco in the future. We wanted to cross thru ferry when we were in Spain, but we ran out of time. Where you off to this year? I'm excited.

 
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