Ain Krorfa is the new Hawaii.
It took me, somehow, until about halfway through the book to realize that Port and Kit were actually married. Up until then, I had been thinking their “marriage” was only a trick to avoid unpleasantness with Arab hotelkeepers. When I did finally learn this, it was a revelation. I began to see a very real purpose to their physical place. With their marriage clearly in trouble, they go to Africa to try to reconnect with each other. What they are going through is essentially a second honeymoon.
As in a traditional honeymoon, the physical act of traveling is vital to what they are trying to accomplish. And in just the same way most newlyweds go on vacation to “discover” each other, Port and Kit go on their own journey for the sake of rediscovery. In order to find the real essence of their relationship, they remove themselves as much as possible from their shared past. Getting lost together is a way of, at least temporarily, starting fresh. As he gets deeper into the journey, Port begins to realize this on a conscious level: “Only then did he understand that he really wanted to know nothing about El Ga’a beyond the fact that it was isolated and unfrequented, that it was precisely those things he had been trying to ascertain about it.” He even goes as far as to consider going there without a passport, for the thrill of losing himself even further.
The importance of location to Port and Kit is mirrored in the “Tea in the Sahara” story Port hears towards the beginning of the novel. The Sahara represents to them a place of stark purity, where their deepest emotions can be exposed by the barrenness around them. In wandering from town to town, the two are seeking their own version of the tallest dune in the desert, to get the best view of the landscape they share within them.