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Shrugging aside the perils of camel stew and being run over by the Paris-Dakar rally, he travels through some of the most spectacular landscapes on earth. For the Sahara is no empty wasteland, but home to a diversity of cultures whose long history stretches from the time of the ancient Egyptians to the oil-rich Islamic republics of today.
floor, a fireplace in massive blocks of grey marble is incised with the initials P. L. M., the Paris, Lyon and Marseille Railway. Above it is a mirror 9 feet high. Everything is intended to elevate and inspire, but this purpose has sadly been forgotten. No pastis here now, no freshly opened bottles of wine, no apronned waiters bustling amongst tables buzzing with gossip from Paris and Algiers. Instead, there’s Coke or Fanta and a handwritten sign above a lifeless bar: ‘La maison ne fait pas du
the church caretaker. Thank you very much. For thirty- eight years, thank you very much. In between pointing out such features as the coffered chancel ceiling, carved from cedar wood by master craftsmen from Fez, and the display of arum lilies, which he fetches every Sunday from the market, he has to rush away to help Mary Evans, one of the churchwardens, prepare the hymn books. Mustapha Chergui and Mary Evans are not really off the same menu. She is quintessentially English, pronounces lost
Life in St-Louis. Outside a shop with a tall, dashing salesman and short plaster figures of the colon, the caricature of the French colonialist in Africa. Life in St-Louis. Women return from the market, heads full. Life in St-Louis. At lunch with artist Jacob Yakouba and his soapstar wife, Marie-Madeleine. All needs catered for on the streets of Dakar. Pre-Tabaski sheep-fattening grips Dakar. Wrestling is the second biggest sport in Senegal. At a local contest in a Dakar
years later, entered the priesthood. His work brought him to the Touareg of the Hoggar Mountains, amongst whom he gained considerable respect, not only learning their language but also producing the first French-Tamahaq dictionary. He accepted, indeed revelled in, the isolation of the desert. There is a shelf beside the chapel on which a book of his writings lies open at the place where de Foucauld gives his own account of what has brought us here: ‘The beauty of the view defies description or
Steiger. By these standards, the casting of Sir John Gielgud as a Bedouin was pretty obvious. The Lion Of The Desert brings us safely to the birthplace of The Guide Of The Revolution. Besides being Gaddafi’s birthplace, Sirte is a potential new capital of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Republic. Modest outskirts of low mud and brick houses give way to a complex of hotels and government offices. Landscaped towers of white stone and black glass could be a corporate HQ in California,