I have never been to the desert. So all that I knew to assume about what it looked like was limited to Clint Eastwood movies and the slides from my geology classes. In flying over this dry and desolate place, I am simply amazed at what is actually here.
I originally thought that it might be just some endless expanse of brown dunes. But I’ve found that it has a lot of diversity. There are varied geological structures, evidence of ancient volcanoes or asteroid strikes and sunken lakes with protruding, mountainous islands that more resemble colossal mushrooms with the understory having been eroded away by the continuous lapping of currents underneath.
There was also an amazing spectrum of colors, considering that there seemed only to be limited geological sediments. And in between the mountainous, darkly color-crested heaps of earth, the valleys revealed the remnants of those ancient massive bodies of water where once-rich soils and minerals were replaced by gradually descending banks. And ancient rivers, once having chiseled through these mountains, left only their discolored, winding channels behind.
What I knew of the desert was simply destroyed by what I saw flying over this grand and inescapably beautiful place.
And this is all in addition to the amazement that I felt the first time that I saw the Nile River. By the time we were over eastern Egypt, the plane had descended down below its normal 35,000 feet and I was able to make out quite a lot of detail. It was really impressive from above. Its banks were rich and peppered with towns and layers of green life. And as it writhed and wriggled along the opposing bodies of beige sands, oxbow lakes could be detected from some 10,000 years of meandering along a different course.
The entire region, really, was not what I expected. There was so much more to what I saw in these famous deserts than what I had originally assumed.