Friday, March 28, 2008

How a bush can ruin a perfectly good tan…


I haven’t put any pictures on for awhile, I figured after all of the ones I’ve posted that they all might start looking the same. One of the reasons is during during my last week in Algeria, I over flexed my sandboard and caused a hairline crack across the bottom of it. You wouldn’t think it would make much of a difference but it really slowed the board down and made me a lot less inclined to make four to seven treks up the dune with my camera each day. The crack was just in front of my right foot and the weight at that point combined with the friction of the sand really slowed things down (it definitely isn’t snow). I figured out that if I sat on the board in front of the crack there wasn’t as much friction and the board would still go really fast. As I learned in January however; when you sit on the board, you have no control and stopping isn’t very easy. So in the end you are at the mercy of the board and the gravitational pull of the bushes. Mind you there are only four bushes on this giant dune but I didn’t have any problem finding them, well one of them anyway. There is a reason that even the camels don’t eat these bushes and that reason is thorns, lots of thorns. On my very last trip down the dune, I was going really fast when I got into the middle of all of the tracks coming up the dune. All of the tracks made like mini speed bumps and caused things to get out of control really fast. All I could see through the spray of sand (from digging my heels in trying to slow down) was the only bush on that side of the dune rapidly approaching. In whitewater kayaking I try to live by the saying “don’t look where you don’t want to go” because if you stare at a rock or a log you are going to hit it. While careening down the dune at mach 2 this thought never occurred to me. As I approached the bush that I couldn’t seem to divert my eyes from, I dug my heels in as hard as I could and unfortunately the result wasn’t what I was hoping for. I don’t really know how the laws of physics allowed me to go from sitting on my rear to skidding on my forehead in less than a millisecond but it happened. I still don’t know how I managed to take the brunt of the impact of the bush with my left arm and leg instead of my face, but I got lucky. It would have been much less pleasant removing thorns from my forehead than it was my extremities. After I skidded to a stop (still face down in the sand) all I could hear was Collin at the top of the dune laughing hysterically. He said it was the funniest thing he’d ever seen. It actually reminded my of another friend who also couldn't stop laughing hysterically after watching me take my kayak down a black diamond ski slope; but that was about ten years ago and is a whole different story. You would think that with age I’d stop doing stupid stuff, but how boring would life be if I did that.
I guess if nothing else, my last trip down the dune was my most memorable. The next morning I tossed my sandboard on the plane and headed out of the desert, and my nice tan all covered by a thousand little scabs (half of it anyway).

I have to say that my experience in Algeria was great and the people are wonderful. My only regret is that I was unable to see any part of the country other than the Sahara. Although the desert takes up most of the country, the northern part on the Mediterranean is beautiful and green. One of these days I’d like to get the chance to visit Algiers which is on the coast and I’d also really like to see Constantine which is in the mountains and is a very old city.
Maybe one day, but for now it is off to London for a day and then back home to see if Sandi and Thane remember who I am.

My last Saharan sunset

I really liked the way these clouds got more colorful the lower the sun got.

My last trip to the top of the dune, moments prior to my painful collision with a bush with a bad attitude.

The scene of the accident

These bushes are rooted deep and even my impact didn't uproot it. Notice how far I skidded before coming to a stop and how far down the bush is scattered.

1 comment:

Tasha said...

Good post.