We spent last night in Tozeur which is a large oasis that is famous for its date palm plantations. Palm trees are everywhere! (See picture) We left Tozeur and drove south through the largest salt lake bed in North Africa and we passed through a minor sand storm on the way (see picture). We arrived in Douz, the Gateway to the Sahara. Yesterday I stood next to a camel sign. Today I stood next to a camel. In fact, I rode the camel out into the Sahara Desert. (See pictures) Uncle Jim and I were two of the three intrepid adventurers from our nine-person group who signed up to ride a camel. The local guide led us out into the desert for twenty minutes and then back in again. Riding a camel is something like riding a horse and one does better to rock forward and back with the beast's movement. We looked a little like Lawrence of Arabia except that I never felt all that secure way up on that saddle. After lunch we stopped to see some underground dwellings that have been in existence for at least 800 years. The people native to this region dug these homes to
avoid the intense heat of the summer in the area around Matmata and their descendants still live here (see picture). If this looks familiar, it may be because some scenes from Star Wars were filmed near here.