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Summary

They say that one is subjected to a sobering sample of what can only be described as an existential crisis when traversing the golden and seemingly infinite terrain of the Sahara Desert. If one climbed any of the countless sand dunes and twirled around in a place, particularly under the starlit sky, they would scarcely be able to tell east from west without a compass, for there would be nothing but dizzying carpets of indistinguishable sand hills unfurling into the distant horizon.

Daunting thoughts of purpose and self-worth aside, people fortunate enough to visit this sandy wonderland via a heavy-duty SUV, or more traditionally a hired camel caravan, are treated to a truly breathtaking sight. The wave-like ripples caressing the beautiful collection of irregularly shaped sand dunes, some barely half a story and others close to 600 feet in height, are as unique as the etchings on one's fingertips. To some, they are Mother Nature's stretch marks. To others, the wind-prompted patterns might conjure up an image of a god with a rake in hand, whistling carelessly and combing through the gritty grains of sand, as one would with a miniature zen garden to melt away their stresses.

It is easy to see why people might feel helplessly small and insignificant, especially when thrust into and lost in such a hauntingly beautiful, but perilous and apparently fathomless landscape. The smattering of flora and fauna stingily peppered throughout the immense slab of barren land would do little to pacify a fluttering stomach. Moreover, a somewhat menacing, monotonous drone pierces the silence, emitted by the vibrations of the sand grains cascading down the dunes. The musicians behind these dreary tunes are none other than the pockets of wind massaging these mountains of sand, and the peculiar phenomenon, evocative of a chorus of crying conch shells or a buzzing colony of incandescent bees, sends a tickle down one's spine.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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