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I remember as a boy I once went out into the desert. Some friends and I had wanted to do it for weeks
but my father had always forbidden it. I stole one of his camels and we took a tent between us. We
took it in turns: two of us would ride the camel and the other would Qassari walk.
We only stayed out there one night; we awoke to find our camel frozen into stone. I was sick I
think — what kind of a thing can do that? All around our tent were ridges and valleys of sand, rising
over and under one another for tens of feet in every direction. To the south of us, five valleys met
and carried on together as far as the eye could see. Must have been their tracks, whatever they were.
Needless to say we packed up the tent and fled. I’ve never been comfortable in the desert since.
Funny thing is, when I got back, I thought my father would be angry about the camel, but other than
me, he seemed more worried that he would lose the tent.
Adil El-Amin, Qassari trader
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