The land along the road east from Tripoli to Misratah might be anywhere along the French or Italian rivieras; dry green hills going back into mountains, palms and mimosas planted on the coast. But from Miratah the road turns south and the lush coastal planting disappears. The hills still carry bush and pines, though between them more red earth is visible and erosion channels snake around the trees. The channels grow wider. Several hundred kilometers further south, there's as much red showing as green. By Sirte. where the road turns east again along the Sirte Gulf, the sparser trees and bushes stand on ilslets one to ten feet high out from the red rocky earth/ Small dunes of fine red sand are banked against the root mounds and also lie along the edge of the road, blown across with the wind or blown back with the wind off the convoy. Over the next huyndred kilometers or so, the islets of trees disappear and bush gows sparse up on round red plinths as if displayed as rare specimens. Some of the dunes have bleached to pale gold. Well before Ajdabiya, the land goes flat, Only occasional low scrub appears from the earth, now a pale gray-yellow. Larger dunes appear, pale yellow, sand c0oloured, in fact. In fact, sand. We're driving the Sahara.