I was caught off guard by the seductive serenity of the dunes. After our jolly escort, Sayeed, helped my husband and I and our two daughters clamber onto our camels, he cavorted in front of us over the sand, kissing my camel, demonstrating how a desert well works and savored drinking the water and made sure we took advantage of the right photo opps (particularly when it came to catching the silhouettes of ourselves and our camels as cast by the setting sun). And while we good naturedly went along with his antics–flapping our arms to watch their shadows dance on the sand, I think we disappointed him in the way we savored the silence. We weren’t alone, we could occasionally see other groups astride their camels, coming into site as they ascended a dune and then disappearing as they descended. But around us, silence and the sand. We were surprised by how deeply it entranced it.

And Sayeed and his merry colleagues (who all looked like teenagers to me!) served us well. After we arrived at camp,  we climbed up to the dunes to watch the sunset, you could hear them cheerfully shouting at each other as they ran around preparing dinner, the campfire and, ultimately, an evening’s entertainment.

There was plenty of silliness. My favorite line of the evening came during a discussion of whether or not Daylight Savings Time had started in Morocco.

“Yes!” said one of our hosts, who had led camels, helped serve dinner, led a campfire drum concert that culminated in a conga line consisting of me following several Asian tourists (“And all without alcohol!” marveled my husband).

“Yes, for people who work in offices, for teachers, for nurses.” He held up his Samsung and pointed to the time on it, which was still on what I guess was Moroccan standard time.

“But, I,” he said proudly, “I am a nomad, I am free!”