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173. The Great Rolling Hotel and the Sahara

12 Jul

Subsaharan Africa is an inhospitable place at best, life maintains a tenuous grasp on that hot and arid landscape. It has long presented a great challenge to travelers, expeditionaries and nomads alike. Crossing  the Sahara even today is quite an undertaking. In 1969 humanity first set its footprints into the lunar dust, in the Shara another frontier was being broken. Overshadowed by the moon landing but still deserving of its own plaudits. For in 1969, humanity also first crossed the Sahara, in a bus. Well I say bus, really it is more than that. Not so technically advanced as the space shuttle but something equally as novel. It was ROTEL.

ROTEL is a simple concept from Germany, a hotel on wheels. Check in, tour the world then check out. To this day ROTEL still runs, operating tens of buses visiting over 150 countries. Touring from Baghdad, Bali, Scandinavia, the Arctic circle to just about any other country. For over 40 years ROTEL has provided the lazy explorer with the world. All in relative comfort, not decadence but at least from a position most unique. Where else after all, does the room itself take you to your destination?

To this day ROTEL regularly crosses the Sahara, no longer overshadowed by the moon landing but still overshadowed. By the landscape, after all the point of ROTEL is not ROTEL itself, it is gaining a new perspective. Allowing those who would not otherwise be willing to experience the world. It reveals the world in a new light to those who embark upon its journey – coincidentally the same effect experienced by Buzz Aldren and Neil Armstrong when they landed in the dust of the moon and stared at that terrestrial blue marble suspended in the sky.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Articles, Trivia

 

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