Sep 12:  Merzouga/Sahara Desert

Up 10am.  No effects from drinking.

Lights out in my room 10:22am while I was on the toilet..  AC went off before that.  I assume it's on a separate circuit.  Lights came back on 10:24am but were shaky after that.  Off for good 10:55am.  As a bonus, the shower doesn't work when the power is off.  Who cares...I'm about to get all stinky riding a camel.

Left my room 11:30am.  We had rights to these rooms only for last night.  No power for the rest of the day meant no Internet.  Not able to switch my FB pic from the WTC back to default now that it's 9-12.  Eh, no one's gonna complain.

Sat by the pool waiting for the 4x4 people to return.  Rebecca joined me at some point.  We were storing our bags in one room and I snagged a glass from the bathroom there so I could enjoy some poolside drinks from my cachaça bottle.  Rebecca asked "Where is Sophia?"  I already forget if I cited this as a common question on a previous page.

Don't flies ever get tired of buzzing around my ears and landing on me?  Don't they ever want to rest or eat sometime?  I'm sitting here by the pool with a bottle of distilled sugar cane next to me, and yet the flies would rather harass me than drink sugar.  As I wrote this a fly landed in my glass of sugar.

Our driver hung out a bit.  He said it's cool in Merzouga now.  He showed me a pic of when it was 53°C/127°F last month.  And he said north Moroccans come here to get sand baths.  He's gotten one twice, but only up to his waist.  A real sand bath is burial up to your neck, which gets up to 70°C/158°F.  Also, he has a musician friend in Santa Cruz who plays Berber music but with saxophones and whatnot.  His band is AZA.

I was wanting to swim here, but given that we'd checked out already, drying stuff would be a problem.  So I spent time going through these notes. 

Pool.  Four of the places we stayed had pools.  Didn't have time for any of the others.  And for some reason Joseph P. Larkin wasn't at any of them.

Worst feet photo ever.  The pool is too far away, I'm wearning JEANS AT THE POOL, and my toes are throwing gang signs.  This is an intentional parody of vacation-photo clichés that I was going to tag Bridget Lavin in, but by the time I post these on Facebook the joke will have been forgotten.  The jeans were kind of a necessity...long pants were recommended for the camel ride, and since we'd checked out and all 15 of our bags were locked up in one room, I figured this was easier than trying to change later.  The jeans were quite tolerable, considering I was in the desert on a 35°C/95°F day.  As you can see I'm in partial shade, and as a bonus the jeans kept the flies off my legs.  When I get around to my 12 labors, one of them will be the extinction of flies.  Not just for me, but also so that starving African kids can have an improved quality of life.  Live Aid fed some of those kids (and more importantly, Bob Geldof's ego) but the effects were fleeting.  My plan brings about a permanent solution to their misery.  The non-food aspect of their misery.  For the food part, I still don't understand the delay in implementing Sam Kinison's initiative.  Or Doug Stanhope's solution to a woman who won't stop having babies that she can't feed:  "Kick her in the cunt until it doesn't work anymore."  No video...I heard him do that one in person.  Brilliant.

Some old German asshole went for a swim and kept splashing away the birds who tried to gather on the edge of the pool.  Most boys outgrow chasing away pigeons in the city square when they're about 6.  Not this dick!  What the fuck goes on in animal-haters' heads?  They saved Hitler's brain and they should save this guy's too.

Realized Rebecca had been gone for a while, but her stuff was still near her beach chair.  No sign of Sophia at all today.  No idea if the 4x4 people are back yet and forgot about me.  Just waiting awkwardly by the pool until I see someone.  I was hungry but figured I'd wait to eat with the rest of the group.  At 2:10pm another group of older tourists showed up and said there was a tall blonde inside writing.  A minute later Rebecca came back out with assistance, looking like death.  Worst time to get sick, considering we're a couple hours away from the highlight of the trip.

Finally at 2:30pm Percy showed up and announced "dinner is served".  I'd like to enter a room and announce that, regardless of the status of any food preparation, because I need a good catch phrase.  The 4x4 people just got back.

Lunch.  Kaliya.  On my list of 8 things.  It's like a tajine but with more good things in it.  I'm drunk!

Nikky said my "wife" was looking for Wi-Fi all morning and ended up walking some distance to the next village to find it.  That's something I would do.  I totally married my soulmate.

Most people went in the pool after lunch.  Again, I didn't want the hassle of having to change and also keep a wet bathing suit in my bag.  Rebecca didn't go to the pool...instead she was led away by Abdoul to a room, presumably to die.  Ayaka was wearing a skirt bathing suit, reminiscent of the outfit WWE had Mickie James wrestle in to hide her ass.  Not that Ayaka was wearing it for the same reason.  It just reminded me of the hottest thing ever in WWE.

Ack!  I broke down and went in the pool at 3:45pm for a half hour.  I peed in the pool because it's fun to do.  Don't worry, group were all out by then so my urine didn't get into any of your orifices or open wounds.  A girl ("impossible teen body" in my notes) was tanning and then got in the pool after I got out.  I think I got erections in my eyes for the first time ever.  My dip in the pool served as a substitute for the shower I couldn't take after the power went out.  I finished my now-hot cachaça and Coke.  Left the pool area 5:05pm to await the camel ride.

From the hotel patio.  Literally the edge of the Sahara Desert.

At 5:30pm our camels arrived and prepared to be mounted.  Why can't girls be more like camels?  With their lovely camel humps?  In the back and in the front?

Left for our trek into the desert at 6:20pm.

This was on my to-do list for the Sahara portion of the trip:  "take photo of camel toe".  Lickety-split!  That doesn't make sense but I'm laughing out loud!

Mrs. Putro and others on camels.

My camel.  I asked the camel guy what his name was and he let me pick, so I dubbed him Casanova, who was the last camel I rode in Egypt 11 years ago.  Every animal should have a name, because we got a little black puppy in 1987 and before we could agree on a name we had to take him back to be euthanized because the whole litter had a urinary defect.  He died without a name and that makes me sad to this day.  I don't want to die without having had a dog of my own.  That's definitely one of my 12 labors.  I'd have to move first, though.  My current apartment building bans Precious Puppies.  I think the dog thing is intertwined with getting a job and a house and a wife.

About to depart.

Sophia petting a camel.

I got a lead camel!  They're tethered together in groups, like the Human Centipede, but with less feces-swallowing.  I will not watch that film.

I like that this ride happens close to sunset, for the lighting and not the temperature.  I'd rather do it in the middle of the day and experience the real desert.

Percy going native.

This area of sand dunes is called Erg Chebbi.  It makes me think of this tragic story that is made hilarious by the mention of the girl's hometown.

Well, this goes on for more than an hour.  Don't expect wacky captions for every photo.

Can't tell for sure, but given our general direction that might be Algeria in the distance.


I did delete a bunch of the camel photos because there were so many, but there were still a lot of nice ones to keep.

The camels look like they're pulling anal beads out of each other's ass.  Camels are sick fucks!

These shadows terrify me because of this.

Hey Beavis!  Check it out!  A camel!

I think Abdoul took this and failed.  Stacey Frankel's not gonna like the hat-cropping.

Why did the camel guy suddenly pull a Damon Wayans and make his character gay?

In the spirit of Gilbert Gottfried..."And now for some jokes."  What's the difference between our group and Heidi Strobel?  She gets to ride Cole Hamels, and we get to ride whole camels.  I wrote this joke two months ago it its execution here is one of my crowning achievements.

Fucking posers.  Or poseurs.  "Guns N' Roses?  More like Guns N' Poses."--one of my favorite zings.

The Sahara Desert is named after the Sahara Casino, where one time I was up $1000 at blackjack, betting $125 a hand and criticizing the chumps betting $1, pointing out how much they'd be winning if they were betting like me.  And then within a few minutes my $1000 vanished.  But I got a voucher for a free brunch, so it wasn't a total loss, I mean yes it was.  Not sure what the Saharan Motel in Hollywood is named after.  Jim Carrey lived there when he first moved to LA, and it's near where Jordi yelled "Grab my ass!  Grab my ass!" after that historic happy hour in April 2010.

Aw.  Casanova.  He's not a feline Casanova because that song doesn't get stuck in my head until Marrakech.

I always have a bad crooked smile in selfies that I take from this angle.  It started with me and the Nelson twins on that flight from from Tampa.  Disembarked the camels at our desert camp 7:30pm.

Rebecca and Nikky at the camp.  My tent is in the far right corner, but I went in only to drag my mattress and sheet outside.  Sleeping outside was the whole reason for this night.  Why are the tents even there?  My lawd, this is quite the tentses.

A tradition was broken here.  I always wish Stella a happy birthday on Facebook at midnight Tashkent time, since she was born there, so I can technically be the first.  I figured that was 8pm Morocco time.  But there's no Wi-Fi in the Sahara.  She lied about her age on the aforementioned "grab my ass" night, like Jerry changing his pants size.  How can she be so vain?

We're sharing the camp with another G Adventures group.  One girl already knew that Sophia and I are "married".  Fucking press.

Many people in both tour groups brought alcohol that they couldn't have opened without my Swiss Army knife corkscrew.  Me = MVP of the night.

Had a tajine for dinner.

After dinner.

At 10:15pm some local guys started a drum concert for us.  Kind of annoying since I think were were scheduled to get up at 5:30am.  Seemed like it would never end.  I laid on my back due to tiredness, still awake but listening.  People broke into song as an alternative to the drums.  There was a fun group rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody that petered out at the headbanging part due to the lack of guitars, and then I (from my back, unseen, after being silent and forgotten for a while) revived it with a beautiful countertenor "nothing really matters...."

It rained briefly!  Just a sprinkle, but I miss rain.

Local dudes launched into some terrible jokes.  It's like the comedians who do a booked show (like Crispy) and don't take it seriously and bring a goddamn notebook on stage and keep reading from it as they say "what else do I want to talk about..." because they suck and can't do even 7-8 minutes without running out of gas.

Local dude instructed all of us to look up to the sky and "tell me what you feel".  I saw two shooting stars and wished on one of them, and then retroactively on the other one.  Same wishes as in India 3 years ago.  Didn't/haven't come true.  There was some distraction so he had us look to the sky and asked us again:  "Tell me what you feel."  Me:  "Shame."  This got prolonged laughs from many of the girls, probably longer than any laugh or applause break I've gotten on stage.  Abdoul verified that it was me and asked if I was really ashamed to be there.  No, I was being funny.  Successfully.

Girls from the other group were dragging their mattresses to the interior and figuring out how to arrange them.  I tried to help by openly pondering which girl's feet I wanted near my head.  One of them asked "Should you be saying that with your wife nearby?"  WE'RE NOT REALLY MARRIED even though like I said it's a believable and reasonable scenario.

Bed 12am.  Sleeping with contacts in.