I couldn't find time to visit my friends' desert camp last year. In fact the last time I spent a night out in the desert was over twenty years ago. Over the past few years, I did visit camps for lunch or tea, usually in the south of Kuwait. Camps in Mina Abdullah area and those a little further are often closer than people's chalets. Whilst the relatively short drive does offer a change from every day life, the very busy location removes any feeling of being 'away'. The number of tents there makes it look like one giant camp. The cars, bikes and generator noise remove any peace offered by the concrete-free surroundings. This trip was quite different. We headed North.
It was, by Kuwait standard at least, a remote location. We drove West on a narrow asphalt road off 80 for 22km and then South-West into the desert (no road) for another 5km. When we arrived, I could look around me 360 degrees and not see a thing in sight. There was one shepherd in a tent in the distance but he was a good 2-3km away. Apart from the wind which was calm, I could hear nothing! The quiet was indescribable.
Once our eyes got used to the low light in the night the sky glistened with thousands of stars. One could sit there for hours just looking. The occasional shooting star (I saw two) adds to the drama above. I had to force myself into the tent to sleep - it was past 3am by then. I will post photos of the stars in my next post.
Kuwait being a tiny country, you're not really remote in any sense of the word. Relatively, yes, but in reality all the amenities imaginable are a reasonable drive away. As long as you have coal and, ironically, ice, you can survive a few days without contact. We ran out of water, and after one phone-call the tanker appeared seemingly from under the ground. Not many cars passed by, but we did get a few helicopters and planes. Some of them were pretty low which was exciting even if I didn't admit it at the time. The American Military Base (Camp D perhaps?) was not far from us.
It was a wonderful experience of leaving everything behind and looking at beauty in the emptiness of the desert, and the vastness of the night sky. Two days where my living room and indeed my bedroom had the view below.