A walk in the desert

 

© UNESCO / Rex Keating

Click on the image to listen to the recording.

 

Rex Keating, the voice of UNESCO English radio between 1956-1970, invites us for a walk in the Egyptian desert, on a glorious spring afternoon. Our guide is a scientist, a botanist. As an introduction, Rex Keating rubs two stones together. In fact, the stones are pieces of petrified wood. The botanist explains to us that 60 or 70 million years ago, the desert was a wide delta crossed by many rivers. Extreme conditions of temperature and geysers producing hot water rich in silica, transformed the trees into stone.  

Then, Rex and his guide come across a large bush with bright green fleshy leaves. They have medicinal properties; Bedouins used to cut and sell them as they were used to treat asthma. The desert is full of life: at first sight, stones seem to be grey, but when you look them, they are yellow, red and green because a sort of lichen proliferates. If you turn over a rock, you may find three or four forms of insects. If you are unlucky, you may find a scorpion. You just have to look! 

 

Sarah Rigaudeau, Intern 

 

 

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