02 November 2012

to Ouarzazate
Abdul

Not much to report today.  Just another travel day.

Fresh juice is available everywhere. Just lean out of the bus window and grab one!

We booked out tickets with CTM, the main bus company in Morocco, and the one we have been using the most.  It is reliable, and as fast as anything else.  They also charge a set price for baggage.  In other forms we have been charged to open the boot, per piece or per person.  However it was a longer trip and we were a bit shocked at the price.  120DH each!  Just from Taroudant to Ouarzazate.  Its only about 300km.
From then, it was just a case of hanging around.  The bus was a bit late, as the roads are still not good from the rain.  It did turn up eventually, and we were off.  Plenty of photos out the window.  Mountains, valleys, hills, villages.  The photos of the Kasbahs built up on the hillsides did not turn out well unfortunately, and there was a side of a mountain that was just a collection of long thin upright rocks.  We were too busy staring at these to even raise the camera.  It was a very interesting site considering the rest of the landscape.

The trip took most of the day.  We have worked out times here though.  Take the expected time, multiply it by the distance, and then add a few hours.  Or roughly, 50km/h with additional time for stops and lunch breaks.

On arriving at Ouarzazate, we had no idea where we were in relationship to the rest of the town, and although this was not that unusual, we had to work out where to go for accommodation.  Walking along the street, we met a nice guy (morocco is full of them!) that pointed us towards a cheep hotel in the centre of town.  perfect.  It was just a bit of a walk from here.  At least it’s all downhill (We are not thinking about the next few days, when we have to bring the bags back…).

There is a large central plaza, and the hotel is in one corner.  Plenty of cafes, and a small souk at the other end.  Checking in, it is amazing the changes of accommodation for the same price.  This still has a decent sized room, and shared facilities.  It is also frequented by the Peace Corps.  But you can’t have everything!  The blokes downstairs are friendly, but not that helpful, and we couldn’t get a map of town until tomorrow (well, they do have maps at least).

Australian Berber Dutch Touareg and Moroccan mix.

On a quick walk around the area to familiarise ourselves with the place, we met Abdul, a young man of Berber and Touareg decent.  His family are still nomads in the Sahara, and regularly do the trek from Timbuktu in Mali to here.  It takes about 52 days.  He invited us into a friends shop for tea.  No expectations.  We made it clear we were not buying anything, and to his credit, he did not push anything on us the entire time!  We just had tea, and talked about life in the desert.  Our point of view from Mimili, and his from the Sahara.  We had to get all dressed up though, and have our photo taken while wearing turbans and traditional dress.  It was surprising that Anna got the subdued colours, and I the more flamboyant.

It was a lot of fun, and we enjoyed the time there.  But we needed food, and sleep.  The food here is fairly good.  In the central square there are plenty of places.  Good food and a reasonable price.

AA

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