Slightly confused by such cold blooded negotiation skills Oussaid put on the table his lowest ever special-friendship-price for one of the achondrites being discussed. With a short giggle, attesting his counterpart a seriously diminished accountability, Mohamed refused the sum of a few Dollars as exorbitant and absolutely beyond discussion.
Ousaaid, who quickly regained his countenance, hereupon challenged Mohamed’s eyesight and continued to praise his goods to the sky in a torrent of words. This went on and on. The archaic ritual which was already executed following the same protocol at the campfires of the first savanna dwellers went on for another while. Finally both parties agreed to terms of conduct. A firm handshake settled the deal.
For us it was interesting to learn, whether the merchandise represented meteorites from find locations nearby or from places farther away. The finders willingly disclosed their knowledge, in which they referred to the newspaper wrapping on which the respective rural place names and the names of the finders were noted. The names of the find sites, of course, needed additional explanation in order to assign them to areas within our knowledge. In the end we were provided with a good picture of how far some of the finders travelled to sell their meteorites. Some of the finds we learned, were already at that point second hand.
The majority of the meteorites sold came from different regions near Assa in the south, Tan Tan in the north, and from the plains east of the central Wadi Draa. None of the stones was discovered in the area around the Saquia al Hamra, the search area we had chosen. We encouraged the finders to take down and to keep detailed records of when, where exactly, how many and by whom meteorites were found and to make sure that this information was passed on to eventual buyers.
Part of the deal just closed between Mohamed and Oussaid was also a well-fed goat which Hassan now loaded into the back of Mohamed’s Land Cruiser. Because the sun was already setting we pushed to depart. To our surprise and without further ado the group of meteorite salesmen joined us, obviously because the area had little other entertainment to offer. We were happy about the unexpected company.
Our caravan which had now grown to four vehicles left the asphalt road and turned west into the gravel plains which stretched to the horizon. Soon a mesa came into sight, sharply silhouetted against the sinking sun. I estimated its range at approximately eight kilometers. A distance we still could make in the remaining light.
I headed for the landmark and the others followed. After barely an hour and with darkness settling we arrived at the landmark. At its southern edge we discovered a horseshoe-shaped bay which perfectly qualified for the night camp. Under the rising moon we pitched our tents.