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INSIDE SAHARA
Michael's introduction
And if thereís one thing more scarce than a menu or a wine list in the Sahara, itís a hotel. All too frequently, the only accommodation available was the humble tent. Not the Bedouin tent, half as wide as a ballroom, but the individual, easy to carry, put it up yourself, polypropylene tent, which a true Bedouin wouldnít be seen dead in. Some people are natural campers, scurrying in and out of their little cocoons like hamsters when the winterís coming on. Basil is not amongst them. He likes certain comforts when heís out on the road, and one of them is being able to stand upright. The air was full of dark mutterings as he crawled in at night and crawled out in the morning and crawled off in the hours in between to answer the call of the wild.

The other thing that didnít help him much was the amount of sand in the Sahara. I tend to forget, as I sally forth in the morning, armed only with notebook and Dictaphone, that taking photographs involves being weighed down like a pack mule. Basil had eight cameras on the shoot, and at any given time three of these would be hanging round his neck alongside an armoury of fancy lenses, some the size of a small tree. Not only were they heavy, they were also precision instruments. Now nature may abhor a vacuum but she loves a precision instrument, and to show her affection she not only provided a constant supply of grit and sand, but also arranged for a more or less constant wind to blow it into any aperture, human or mechanical.
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