Feb 13, 2012

The Sahara Desert.

By Najia Navaid

This travel article is written to enlighten its readers about the comforts as well as the difficulties that the Sahara Desert has to offer. It is also an attempt to remove preconceptions in the readers' minds about the Sahara Desert. The readers are mostly those who want to travel to the the Sahara Desert or are interested in travelling and foreign places. The tone of the passage is awed and appreciative in some places and concerned in others. The writer makes use of powerful words and contrast to intrigue the reader's mind.

The writer starts off by immediately saying that to travel to the Sahara Desert, one needs to change their way of thinking. The desert is one wide expanse of sand and dust which creates mirages. The traveler should not be hoodwinked by by its appearance for there is much else lying in wait to ensnare one who is unsuspecting. The writer personifies sunlight and says that it 'tricks' the traveler into seeing things; like a con man, it is luring travelers into a trap. The writer also poses a warning: 'one mistake and you could vanish forever'. The desert is a dangerous place.

The writer goes on to tell the reader about his own experience. The 'dusty backwater' gives the impression of scarcely maintained Sahara services. The writer's eagerness to make the trip 'entirely by camel' shows how enthusiastic he was to fully sink into the lifestyle of the people of the desert. Words like 'incredible' and 'golden sand dunes' create an impression of majesty and the reader feels awed.

The way the guide 'expressed his gratitude' shows the reader that the people love the desert in spite of the hardships it offers and would welcome with open arms those who truly care about it. The writer's 'guilt' for traveling in the 4WD tells us that he cares and doesn't want to harm the environment. The 'once-fertile' land that has been 'consumed' tells us that the sand is slowly taking over, like a slow creeper that climbs up a wall and makes it crumble.

The next paragraph is a contrast to the difficult travel. The fruit of the sacrifice. The writer tells us that after a long and tiring journey , he camped at a 'cushy bivouac'. The 'giant fire-pit', the 'grand' tent and the 'comforts' show us that the sand doesn't hold people back. They enjoy the luxuries of life as well. The people come across as resilient and those who make the best out of the situation they are in. The tents assembled in a 'circle to block sandstorms' show that the people are used to the weather and precautions like these are second nature to them. However the writer feels that the people are helping him 'survive'. He finds the desert to be harsh outside the sanctuary of the surrounding tents. This also shows the contrast between the writer and the natives. For the writer, it is a struggle against the might of nature.

The writer once again expresses his concern for the well-being of the desert and asks rhetoric questions. He makes a contrast yet again by saying that the 'powerfully rugged desert' is actually 'delicate' and 'fragile'.

The next paragraph sees advice that the writer gives to potential travelers of the Sahara. He calls simple pleasures like 'beer and wine' luxuries, telling us that either the quality was really good or else he was too tired after traveling and the simplest things seemed heavenly to him.

The writer ends by praising the people and saying that 'still these people manage to sustain themselves' and expresses his astoundment at how they manage to survive. He also hints that he would like to visit again and that next time, h would experience the Sahara's 'greatest luxury' which is silence.


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