Sahara – Encore Une Fois

January 24, 2007

Fresh snow outside my window.
10 degrees below freezing.

The Formula 1 season seems far away indeed…

But in the world of Rally Racing: the Jewel in the Crown, The Dakar, (for many years known as the Paris-Dakar), [Wiki facts], has just reached its completion. It is one of the toughest challenges on this planet, and extremely dangerous too. It crosses over endless miles of dessert landscapes. And the roads, oh the roads (!), are certainly not a walk in the park. Driving skill, mechanical skills, navigation, endurance and machinery all come into play.

This year’s winner in the car division was Frenchman Stèphane Peterhansel. After 16 days of racing, his winning margin was an astonishingly slim 7 minutes! But I must confess to you my dear readers: as I have been following this race on TV, I have hardly paid any attention to the numbers and names. I have been quite hypnotized by all the Sahara images.

When I traveled the Libyan Sahara some 9 months ago, something happened to me. That experience got into my bloodstream in a way I never imagined. It is like malaria, once you get it, it remains in your body for life. It does not necessarily break out, but it is always there. Do not get me wrong, there is nothing negative with the malaria comparison, I love this feeling. I just mean that it is something that I may forget for many months, but when it wakes up I realize that it has been there, all the time…

…and then sometimes, one starts to think about the people who live their entire lives here.