After almost a week of touring Morocco and sleeping in wonderful hotels, I arrived at camp on the edge of the Sahara desert. This would be the first of five nights of a camel trek. I dropped my dusty bag and bedding into the white canvas tent our crew had set up already, and crawled in. What a change from the hotels! I was delighted to see a mattress, but decided it was best not to inquire about the dark stains on it. I hoped they were coffee. The pillow had no pillowcase. Had it been washed? The sleeping bags most likely had not been cleaned because our camp crew gave us a sleeping bag liner and advised us to use it.
The liner was designed for a person of beanpole build—narrow and very long—so it turned out to be a bit constraining for me. I opted to make sure I was completely clothed when I slept. That way I didn’t have to concern myself with stains, unclean pillows, and sleeping bags of questionable origin.
I heeded our guide’s warning about snakes and scorpions and zipped up the tent completely before setting out for the dining tent. After a delicious meal I took a short walk to see the camels and camel handlers arrive. The sun set, the Milky Way glowed, and I slept well in my little tent despite the dicey bedding. The silence of the desert was divine. This was the first of five nights.