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18/02/2011 (julıan solo) – Ar Raqqah to 80kms outside Tall Tamr

March 6, 2011

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I watch the ants go about their business as I cook breakfast in the sunshine outside the mud hut.  I originally planned to take the main road, shunning the minor one to ensure I would find supplies as the desert stretches out until the border.

A little sign to the first small village changes my mind and I venture down the quiet road through small single storey villages nestled amongst the sandy mass.  It was a good choice and I’m treated to open expanses of sun-drenched tranquil landscape as far as the horizon.

A guy pulls up as I’m making a video, I sense he might be suspicious of me.  He comes up to me and shows me a video of some deer or some such on his camera.  Not entirely sure what response to give, I nod in appreciation, thinking that he’s probably going to ask to see the contents of my camera.  As soon as I think that he points into the distance and says “gazelles, you’ll see.”  I keep my eyes peeled but no such luck, the scenery, however, more than makes up for it.

The desert experience is cleansing, restorative and makes you feel completely content.  You feel like your free to do what ever you like, within reason of course, without prying eyes and you feel very connected to your surroundings.

This stretch comes to an abrupt end when I have to turn back onto the main road and 7 turkish lorries pummel past, eager to be as speedy as possible from the border.  I stop off at a petrol station, meet a doctor that smokes, feign an interest in football – which is definitely improving, get all my groceries for free and end up playing football with the guys on the forecourt.

The sun sets behind me just as the moon rises, its enormous and reflecting the sunset.  I have to take a moment to register it, as it feels like the sun is rising again.  I’ve never seen the moon this big, taking photos is pointless but I try anyway, conveying its magnitude in a photo would be difficult,  I camp in the middle of nothingness, no one or thing anywhere near me,, only the lights from the road and the moon, now smaller, are visible.

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