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Sahara

Day 19: Tfariti

Michael Palin - SaharaIn 1982, in an attempt to consolidate their military superiority over the Polisario, the Moroccan government began work on a system of fortifications stretching for over 1000 miles along the edge of occupied Western Sahara.

This mighty Moroccan wall, longer than the Great Wall Of China, reportedly costs $2 million a day to maintain. As we brake, turn, twist and sway for mile after mile across a carpet of fractured stone slabs I should be feeling intrepid and privileged, but to someone suffering from camel poisoning the ride is slow torture. By gulping mouthfuls of air and staring fixedly at the horizon, I manage to hold out for three `hours before the desire to shed last night's stew becomes uncontrollable and I have to ask Najim to pull up.

I retch violently, spewing potatoes and carrots on the desert floor (probably the most moisture to have fallen in that spot for years). When it's over I feel a soothing hand on my brow. It's Khalihena, tall, grave, the oldest and quietest of the drivers, who gazes down at me with wise concern through a pair of thick tortoiseshell-rimmed glasses. He holds out a bottle of water and motions me to wash my face.

I feel too ill to be embarrassed, and ridiculously touched that he should be the one to take care of me like this.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Sahara
  • Day: 19
  • Country/sea: Western Sahara
  • Place: Tfariti
  • Book page no: 70

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