On cold mornings Brian and Chris often wore the native burnous and cheche. They were real "desert rats." Chris had once traveled from Agadez to Bilma, a 19-day trip, in a camel caravan. Brian had abandoned England for Morocco, where he hoped to open a campsite for desert travelers. "If we got into trouble, Chris would be the one to survive," said Mike. Charles, however, was a proper Englishman, bearded and esthetic.
Charles deplores, or pretends to, everything American. I find myself defending Cup-A-Soup, Duraflame logs, booties for poodles and central heating against homemade everything, natural wood, foxhounds and the fireplace. I have noticed before that the minute I set foot on foreign soil I turn red, white and blue.
Most frequently I rode with Robin, who had studied engineering but had given it up to join Minitrek. He was restless, drove with less patience than the others and pretended to be cross when I absentmindedly left personal laundry hanging on camel thorns.
"Why are you wearing only one sock?"
"The other one blew away last night."
The Land Rovers suffered only minor mishaps—another flat tire (Robin) and a shattered windshield (Chris). On the banks of the Niger, Spike's heavy lorry sank into a bog and had to be pulled out by the Land Rovers.
We had pilchards today for lunch. A pilchard is the poor man's kipper. Hans refused to eat, said he will never take another trip unless he is running it.
Burmeister said, "Hans will beat us all across the desert, running ahead of the Land Rovers."
Grand Hotel, Niamey
Met an African student named Oo Marou Maraa Madou and gave him some ballpoint pens.