Breakfast is pretty early today just after sunrise and after breakfast we start the day with a short walk to get a bit of exorcise. It is a nice walk and not too cold as the sun starts to give a bit of warmth to us all. The dunes got some great colours as we walk past them.
The walk gives us a change to do some wildlife watching as we pass a big beetle on the ground we stop as it seems like the most interesting thing on our morning walk and everybody starts to take pictures – the poor beetle is sitting down in an old tyre track made by our Toyotas the day before. But the tracks cast a shadow and we have to remove the shade to get a decent photo – hence in accordance with the environmental friendly guidelines of the tour company – which means chasing wolfs in 4WDs – we decide to remove the beetles shade to take pictures – and they are so much better with the sun shining on the beetle.
The high speed driving from the day before is quickly replaced by some gruesome slow driving across a stone dessert. The dessert is very distinct but lacks some of the charm of the dunes we used to be driving through.
The first stop today is at a small rock formation at the top of a wadi. There used to live a small family in this area 10.000 years ago and they made a lot of rock carvings. The number of carvings is a lot less than the day before but the small area is easy to get around and we can get close to the carvings today without any problems – not like yesterday where some of the carvings were high on the cliffs and you had to climb a bit to get up there. Hence this place got a special charm to it by being so much smaller.
We drive on and in the afternoon we suddenly stop. Why do we stop here – there is nothing to see? But we start to dig down in the sand and suddenly lots of different colours of sand appear. There is white, grey, black and of course red sand coming up. After the wind blows the sand will get it self organized with the red on top and the other colours under the red sand. How did they discover this sand – nobody knows but the guess is some tourist need to dig a hole in the sand in private and went back and told everybody else about the strange coloured sand.
As we drive along we leave the stone dessert and gets back to dune land. And we get to the entrance to the Jebel Abcus mountain area – my main reason to go to Libya.
We will spend the next few days in this area. We are supposed to camp just inside this area – but as we drive in we realize this area is crowded. For the first time since leaving Sabratha we see other tourist. Not only do we see other tourist – they have taken our camping spot. Those bastards. We can not spend the night in such crowded conditions and we leave at once to find a different spot to camp. After a short drive we find a new spot to camp – it is at the top of a small hill with a splendid view of the area and is generally a lot nicer than the spot we had to leave behind. This does not mean we don’t swear at those bloody bastards who forced us away from our camping ground and to another nicer camp – they must be French – one theme of this trip is French bashing I will get back to that later.
After we have set up camp our local kitchen crew boils some water so we can get a cup of coffee or tea.
With the coffee are some cookies and some nuts and pumpkinseeds. This is all very nice – but strange things starts to happen when a group of middle aged Europeans have been in Libya without alcohol for almost one week. They get a bit like wild animals. The big problem is the chocolate cookies – there are only 12 in a pack and we are 18 in total counting the guide. And everybody wants a chocolate cookie. The second the package hit the table people through themselves towards the cookies. The turmoil resembles the scenes you would expect when a food convoy arrives whit emergency supplies in Darfur in Sudan. Small kids could get kill in the scramble for the chocolate cookies. But I am happy I succeed in securing one chocolate cookie for myself – it is very nice chocolate cookie but still just a cookie.
After the cookie incident the cooks starts to prepare diner and they do a great job with the soup – and guess what the main course is. Camel and rice.
After diner everybody squeezes together around the fire it is not all that warm during the night in Libya it is just a few degrees above freezing but the fire keeps the cold away and during the night the sleeping backs will do the job while looking at the stars on the clear Libyan sky.