I stopped posting travel articles a while ago, but every now and again one turns up that looks as though it might be worth sharing and this is one of them. It shows the sort of optimism, sense of untrammeled adventure and willingness to trust that I simply don't have about travel and people I've never met before.
Once in Asyut, I walk to the bus station and jump on the next bus to Kharga. The bus is extremely dusty and sandy. As we start moving, I feel like someone has thrown a bucket of sand in my face and down my throat. On the bus a gentlemen sits down in the row opposite me an invites me to join him for a chat. I sit down next to him and we begin to talk. Conversation is slow due to his limited English but I can tell he is a kind and genuine fellow. He likes travellers and relishes the opportunity to practice his English. He tells me of his dreams to one-day open a hotel and restaurant for tourists. After getting to know each other, he invites me back to his place and offers to take me around the oasis the next day. I happily accept and look forward to meeting his family and perusing the oasis. Before the three-hour trip is over, he passes me what appear to be tiny apples. They look exactly like mini granny smiths and taste how you would image a little apple would, the same but slightly more sour.
The landscape along the way is nothing short of amazing. I catch my first real glimpse of the smooth untouched dunes of the Sahara. I feel an immediate peacefulness come over me, it is as if my heart rate just suddenly drops to 30 beats a minute. I only see small tracts like this but I now have a taste for what the next week might be like.
I am dropped at my near my accommodation in Kharga and after a little aimless wandering around the empty and slightly eerie streets (I don’t have a map of the town) I find the Hamadalla Hotel. It’s an interesting establishment, it reminds me of a dusty, dingy and deserted hospital but with carpet and no patients or doctors. Every toilet in the quiet large hotel seems to be leaking, it’s a little weird. The bathrooms are so grimy I decide not to take a shower as I feel I will be dirtier after. I am pretty sure I am the only one staying in the entire hotel. Hey, for $8 AUD it’s all good.