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Desert Sheik
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sheik.jpg
ylw-text.gif Desert Sheik Timbuktu, Mali

This man is a member of the Tuareg, a nomadic tribe that lives in the plains of the southern part of the Sahara Desert. Originally, the word Tuareg meant "thief", a name given to them by early traders in Timbuktu, because of their reputation for robbing people on the high desert plains. Eventually, as order came about in the region, the Tuareg settled into the transportation business, in which they provide the only method for getting the variety of salts that are mined in the North to the seaports and rivers to the South. The journey takes several weeks, and it can only be accomplished by camel train, since it is impossible for motorized vehicles to travel through the hot, shifting sands of the Sahara. Each camel carries two slabs of salt, each weighing exactly 40kg. If any slab of salt is broken, its value is cut in half.

The life of a Tuareg is mysterious, since they are an elusive and somewhat xenophobic people. Little is known about them, except for their keen survival skills in the desert, and their adeptness in the arts of camel maintenance, haggling, and opportunism. Their lineage places them among the Berbers in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, although anthropologists place their origins in the Middle East.

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IPTC Data
Country-Primary Location Name: Africa
Credit: Dan Heller
Object Name: sheik.jpg
By-line: Dan Heller
Copyright Notice: Photo (c) www.danheller.com
Keywords: montage, sheik, africa
Location: Mali
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Keywords: vertical, montage, sheik, africa