Intermission: Life on the Oasis truck

Overlanding means lots of driving, and driving means a vehicle. A vehice means a confined space, which in turn means patience and cooperation. The Oasis trucks are built to house 24 people, plus a tour leader and driver. We are fortunate in that there have been only eight to nine of us in total on this trip. We've been able to spread out,sleep across the seats and have had plenty of storage space to ourselves.

Storage is in an overhead rack and in space below which we access by removing our seats. Seats are along the edge of the truck facing inwards. Beneath the floor in the central walkway, food and various communal things are stored. There is also a selection of books and games. The truck is air oinditioned by means of entirely open windows. Plastic sheets roll down the side in the event that it does need sealing. In our current location, these have a serious greenhouse effect.

When we tire of sitting or lying on the regular seats, there's the beach. This is an open space behind and just above the truck's cab. It is usually both really hot and windy up there and is a great spot for a view. It can get violently bouncy up there on desert roads; of course we are strictly not allowed up there whilst we're moving..

When the truck stops, the kitchen unfolds. Sheets of metal surround a blackened, gas-powwered hob, and cooking is generally done in a series of enormous saucepans. The kettle is usually boiled over an open campfire for tea and coffee. Stuff is prepared on a foldup table, and three washing up bowls are ritualistically laid out (water, bubbles, disinfectant). Food is brought locally or taken from the stash of tins or dried food on the truck. Cook groups (pairs in our case) were assigned at the start and everyone pitches in with their own washing up, which operates a lot like a production line and is extremely efficient. Travellers may often be seen waving plates and pans and cutlery around for minutes at a time. This is a highly sophisticated pot drying technique known as 'flapping'.

So far we've managed to not get in each others' way and have clicked wonderfully. It doesn't take long to adapt to living like this and I think adjusting back to 'normal' life may be harder.

This trip, and my new friends, have opened my eyes to a world of new travelling possibilities and cemented my desire to explore. When the time comes, I won't be ready to come home; but when I do, I'll start planning my next adventure.

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