National Geographic : 1958 May
Advancing Dunes Threaten to Engulf the Palmery 703 for the 250-mile run to Timimoun, a tubby garage attendant warned us to "faites attention" because several drivers on that route had been egorge-which meant, quite simply, that their throats had been cut. How we were to "pay attention" to being "egorge," we didn't know. We were 14 difficult hours on the track from El Golea to Timimoun, and saw neither friend nor foe. Timimoun Gives a Tense Welcome Timimoun lived up to all expecta tions. It was a perfect desert oasis, un spoiled and truly picturesque. The deep red coloring of the soil contrasted vividly with the white Marabout tombs. Mili tary headquarters was a toy model of a fort, and the walls of the red mud houses bore hand-carvings in rich design (pages 692, 694). The other guests at the Red Oasis Hotel were friendly and sociable. We sat up late talking Sahara talk: roads, oil, sandstorms, and, inevitably, the rebels. "Where are you going?" we were asked. "Colomb Bechar," said George. "And then Morocco." There was a moment of silence. Some one cleared his throat. The hotel pro prietor quickly suggested a drink. Then it started. Did we know about the rebels? Did we know they were moving slowly south-toward the Great Western Erg, toward Abadla and Ker zaz, perhaps even Timimoun? Yes, we knew, we said, but we had to get out of the Sahara some way, and there were only two possible routes: via Colomb Bechar-or via Algiers. "Bien sur," everyone agreed. "There are only two routes." So we changed the subject. We were truly sorry to leave Timi moun. But now the summer heat was on, the rebels were ahead of us, and we decided to get out of the desert at all speed. Before entering the danger area, we took a few precautions. With black tape we lettered out a large U.S.A. on each side of Mzuri. And to make sure the rebels wouldn't mistake us for a French military vehicle, we mounted the Stars and Stripes from a fender.* * Mrs. Rodger is American; her husband, British.