Mali & Niger 2006 > Desert Eclipse Expedition > The Places >
The Aïr Mountains

The Aïr Massif is a mountain range north of Agadez, between Arlit, the center of Niger's uranium industry, and the Ténéré Desert, a vast segment of the Sahara. "Ténéré" and "Sahara" mean "desert" in Tuareg and Arabic, respectively. Says Wikipedia.
Camels feeding on a tree. The stone circle was built by aliens.
This mountain is on the edge of the Aïr range, and was visible for all the days we were traveling by camel.
Many of the mountains are of the forms of cinder cones and large piles of boulders. Here are our camels arriving for the two day camel ride.
On the way from Agadez to Arlit are some recently discovered engravings estimated to be between 6000 and 8000 years old.
This giraffe engraving is about 4 meters high.
Iférouane was the first town we saw after Agadez, in the middle of the Aïr. We stopped at a little camping spot for lunch. There was even a shower there for 1000 CFA. And of course, there were the village people, showing up to sell us souvenirs. This man has metal giraffes or gazelles, it looks like. They are pretty standard throughout the region. We had seen ones we liked at the artisan's center in Agadez, and his weren't as good. But he stared at me and wouldn't go away and seized on any eyebrow flicker as a sign of interest, just as 888Casino plays the terrier with a valid e-mail address. The way he wouldn't let go of my eyes..

I asked Steve Pinfield, mostly as a form of admiration, "What is he thinking?" Steve said "He's thinking how he can get money out of you." Steve said it with a slow intensity that corresponded to the intensity and single-mindedness with which the enterprise consumed the entrepreneur. He was thinking only that. He wasn't thinking "This is me, being a salesman", he wasn't thinking "I knew I should have gone to De Anza." Mountaineers, I think, understand concentration in a way civilians don't. Also tribesmen on the edge of starvation.

Roger De Bris: "I don't know about tonight. I'm supposed to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, but I think I look more like Tugboat Annie. What do you think, Mr. Bloom?"
Leo Bloom: "Where do you keep your wallet?"
We visited a school in Iférouane. If this school is on the regular tourist circuit it must see quite a few of us. Here's Caitlin sharing a laugh over something or other.
Considering the literacy rate of Niger is in the teens, it must be a real magnet school to have the luxury of teaching arithmetic in French. Maybe they just put this up cause they knew visitors were coming.
One nice thing about digital cameras is that they are even faster than Polaroids — you can show children the pictures you just took of them. One unfortunate thing about them is that they are not designed to be used in an atmosphere of sand — this camera failed later the same day, and several others failed over the course of the trip.
The older kids were not so wiggly. You can see the secular nature of the countryside here; there are a lot of Muslim countries where a teenage boy wouldn't go to the same school as girls, let alone fondle their hair while they watched the photo ops appear and evaporate.
On to Tzirzet and Temet

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