For a short while we walked through a lush area of date farms and it felt like walking through some kind of a paradise. Mabkhout, our guide, was very happy that we had agreed to raise his daily wages by double compared to earlier, a 100 US a day, and up until that moment, all my comments about the beautiful desert had been received non-committal.

We needed Mabkhout, because through him we had, first of all, full protection and identity of his tribe, the Kel Shat. Without that it would be more difficult to pass through this area. (The Bedu said it would be impossible for us to pass through by ourselfs, but I disagree. They´re so friendly the Bedu, all over the place, so we would have made it through by ourselves. ) Secondly, by travelling with Mabkhout, we learned the ways and thoughts of the Bedu. Which was one of the main aims for us to be there. And I was finally beginning to understand what a unique Expedition we were doing. The Bedu traditionally believe they are the descendants of Shem, son of Noah, whose ancestor was Adam, the first man and the Bedu are by many seen as the original Arabs, a people who lived in the area called the Middle East before any others. And, there was no doubt, I had the same feeling travelling amongst them as I had with the maasai, who I lived together with for a long time in Kenya and Tanzania. Let me first say that the Bedu like the Masai are integral parts of modern society through satellite discs, mobile phones and so on, and I don´t want to fall in the traditional orientalist trap of calling them untouched and original, because these is far from the case, but based on my experience from over 120 countries and 25 years of professional exploring, I had this unique feeling which is hard to pinpoint, but, as with the Masai, it felt like I was coming close to the origins of human kind, as regards to how they saw life, but maybe not lived it. It was kind of raw and basic. As the heat in itself. Which we became acutely aware off next day!

Read more on Explorer Mikael Strandberg's blog

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