The awesome Arabian desert crossing is treacherous - searing heat in the "Sun's Anvil," dust storms and swirling cyclones - an endless trek that exhausts and kills.
The day before yesterday was a really warm sunny day, truly a summer day, not a winter day in South Africa at all. I would guess the temperature to be 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a windy windy day as well. Heaven Admin cautioned me that it might be too windy to walk on the beach.
"I can do it," I said.
A little bit of wind wasn't going to stop me! What harm could the wind do? It wasn't like there was snow or something in Palm Beach, The Hibiscus Coast, South Africa.
On the beach, the wind turned out to be as mighty as the tide. The wind was behind me, and it was very close to lifting me off my feet. It certainly made my walking very fast. If the sand on the beach had been water, blown by the wind, I would have been walking on water and would be famous.
The wind was not only blowing me around at its will, the wind was also blowing the sand around me.The sand filled the air and swirled like bees from a hive. The sand on my skin felt like little knives. I was Lawrence of Arabia, alone on a desert, no one in sight, and no camel to ride on.
From here until the other side, no water. There's no time to waste!
I turned around to go back. But now I was facing the wind. I had to close my eyes from the knives of the sand. I hadn't worn sun glasses, and I had no cloth to put over my eyes like the real Lawrence of Arabia. If I were to walk back, I would have to walk back with my eyes closed. I COULD NOT GO BACK!
In God's name, understand, we cannot go back. What did you bring us here for with your blasphemous conceit? Eh, blasphemer? Go back, blasphemer.
Lawrence (riding ahead and turning):
I shall be at Aqaba. That is written...(He points at his head.)..in here!
At this moment, a little bell went off in my head. If I went a little further forward, I could turn left out of the full-blast of the wind and follow a long path that led to the safety of the sand-free street!
Listen to this: I only knew about this path the day before as I was carrying two cloth bags of tons of rocks I had salvaged from the beach. The bags were so heavy that I had to stop every five feet or so. A lovely older couple had rushed over to help me and took me up this path I had been unaware of until the day before. You understand that rocks are lighter when walking on the grass beside the road, and rocks are heavier walking in sand.
When I got back home, and I did get back, my hair was thick with sand, and my arms and legs were still covered with it, and sand was also in my mouth.
I had saved my life, and you have been reading the blog entry on the edge of your seat that I lived to tell.
Lawrence's first, transfigured appearance in spotlessly-white Harith robes is unforgettable. Piercingly blue-eyed and innocent, Lawrence proudly struts on a camel in his new apparel. He dismounts from his camel and contemplates his new costume - play-acting and fantasizing that he is an Arabian knight. Using his knife blade as a shiny mirror, he conceitedly holds it in front of him to view and adjust his headgear.
Finally, he outstretches his arms like the wings of a plane, letting his robe balloon out behind him. As the wind catches his robe, he runs in a half-circle
until his play-acting is interrupted by the appearance of the chief of the Howeitat clan...