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The Sahara is a lot tougher than most expect... esp. in a Beach buggy!!
We Came, We Saw, We Were Conquered
The Sahara is not considered the greatest desert on Earth without reason. It sure kicked our asses.
After leaving our wonderful friends in Northern Italy, our last day in Europe proved miserable. We did a marathon
drive south through that country in pouring rain with temperatures just above freezing in the open buggy. After departing Italy by ferry to Tunisia we spent one day in the
capitol, Tunis, applying for Visas at the Libyan Consulate.
We had made the African continent, but were still on the Mediterranean shores, which were too cold and wet in January for our tastes. We made a dash for the desert where
despite cold nights we knew we could count on sunny days.
Douz is a small village in southern Tunisia that is touted as the gateway to the Sahara. This became our base for almost two weeks. We checked into a friendly backpackers hotel where we could park the Buggy on the sidewalk right in front of the door. We quickly became famous as the
pilots of the most incredible vehicle the Tunisians have ever seen. They are convinced that the Buggy is a brand
new, high-end, super sports-utility vehicle worth more than a new Range Rover. Many simply refuse to believe me when I try to explain in horrendous French that it is an old VW.
They beep their horns, scream out their windows, and give us ?thumbs-up? in approval everywhere we go. Children chase
us, adults stop us to pose with the car, and the police often flag us down to stare in admiration for a minute before waving us on with big smiles. The response is even
more overwhelming than we expected. When we shoot off the road into the sand dunes they howl with joy and we have been chased several times (at surprisingly high speeds) by young men on camels desperate for a closer look.
It is easy to see why I became cocky? which can be a dangerous thing when traveling.
Returning from our first hard day in the Sahara we pulled up in front of our hotel and I noticed that the parking-brake did not work. Upon inspection I saw that the
bracket that the brake handle hinges in was broken and had split open. Closer inspection revealed? WHAT!!! The car was
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