Ouzarate to Marrakech.
15.05.2009 - 16.05.2009
Unable to find the restaurant we were looking for, we settled on La Kasbah, which had a great view of... The Kasbah. Food was soup with official king of spoons, followed by lemon poulet, and cakes with fruit. We wandered back, and a selection of joyous events occurred: we chatted to a man named Abdul, who asked if we could say hello to a short man named Mohammed at our hotel (I did; he didn't know any Abdul. How?). Then, a man asked me to write a letter to his friend Claude, inviting him to his wedding in September. Lastly, as we walked across the long, dark, narrow bridge between the two halves of town, an ambulance pulled up alongside us, and said - in French - "get in, its dangerous here". Hywel turned to me and asked "shall we? It is an ambulance." I don't know if he meant it should be safe, or that it would be fun. We got in. Hywel shared a language barrier moment in the front, while I rode in the back with the medical equipment. Went to bed happy, but due to warmth and noise we didn't sleep until Hywel covered his ears, and in my case until 2am when it grew quiet.
In the morning we arose, abluted and headed downstairs. Mohammed, our guide, met us and we set off to the south. It's mostly paved roads all the way, except a small section beside Agnz. We took in some great views of Draa Valley - the valley around Morroco's greatest river, nearly dry - and met a man with two lizards - one angry, one mellow - passed police roadblocks (bribes changed hands I think), and took in an impromptu tour of a really old Kasbah, from a hyperactive man who loved plaster and really didn't know how to haggle: "its 40 DH each" "Each?" "No. But there's a 10 DH entry fee too" "Really?" "No. Its 40 DH". Arrived at Tinfou (one big sandune and some smaller ones. Why?) and rode camels. Hywel took the bigger one and mine struggled, so later we swapped. Once behind the dunes, our camel guide asked us if we could pay him (we made a small donation, but funds were low and our main guide had a host of ideas for tour extensions) in a perfect blend of English, French and German. He also took some photos and let us run around the dunes a bit. Took lunch at the Camel Gourmand. It was delicious, I ate chicken.
Afternoon we drove up Draa, passed Ouzazate and went to a massive Kasbah famous for movies. Mohammed had sourced some hashish and was flying high, and had gone a bit "picture crazy", so our tour was an amble through the streets with many photos of all of us. He's a camerman when not guiding, and the photos were really good. He invited us back to his, but through tiredness we declined. Shame, as it might have been fun, but I for one needed drink and sleep. Returned to hotel, found restaurant and a selection of staff appeared. Iwas supposed to meet Hywel in the lobby, but felt obliged to take a seat. Hywel, disgruntled, found me soon after. Ate soup and a big pile of meat and melon (seperately). Laughed a lot (second hand smoke?) and went to bed. Dog's chorus kept us awake though.
Woke and took early bus to Marrakech. Battled taxis and ended up sharing one with a girl and a policeman, both of whom we paid for I think. Tried to find hotel Essoura, where one can sleep on the roof for 30 DH, and LOTS of people tried to help / waylay us. One guy told us he'd take us to the street we wanted... But he didn't. When I pointed to the street sign and read it, he seemed pretty surprised, and I felt proud, although still lost. Eventually - and with some help - we found hotel and checked in. Headed straight out and bought drinks and tagine, then visited Sidi Yussef Medersa - beautiful old religious school - and Almoravid tower. Skipped museum. Then bought souvenirs in the souk, and as we haggled badly only three people will be receiving gifts. Drank OJ and wandered down to cyberpark where we found out we'd miss Eurovision. Tonight its food in the square and sleep under the stars. See you tomorrow.