Zagora Via Draa Valley
Ibrahim & Malaga
Ibrahim’s Family House
Today is another travel day. These are long and monotonous in Morocco. Especially if you are taking local transport. You have to be patient, and accept that if the bus is leaving at twelve, it will probably leave at 2.
We had planned on going to Ourzazate today. From M’Hamid you need to take a local minibus. This isn’t bad if your bags are in town, but if you are a few kilometres out… Luckily for us, everyone stayed at Madani’s for the night, and we managed to hitch a lift into town with them. (We could have called someone to pick us up as well…)
We made our goodbyes and waited for the bus to fill up. Having made it in good time, we then sat around for a while twiddling out thumbs (Until Anna stopped me!). Eventually we were off. This time the bus was not too bad. We were towards the front, so less fumes and better views. Although Anna was sitting on a metal table next to the seat.
As the bus climbed up the first ridges we got to see the Draa Valley in all its glory. It is huge. Very wide, and as we had learnt about 1200Km long! A wide dry rocky plane stretching out before us. The small single lane road getting much use. There were a few lookouts at the top where you can pull over and get the views, but as we are on a bus, it was not possible to stop there, yet we got to see a lot of it anyway. There were sections of cultivation, but most was barren. It has been referred to as a Martian or Lunar landscape.
The bus had a top speed just above walking speed on the way up, and we passed some people skateboarding down. They had a good turn of speed, and I would hate to think of them falling over, or meeting a car on a corner. On the way down we managed to break jogging speed. No where near as fast as the skateboarders. In this way we travelled the short distance to Zagora (Possibly 80km) in 2 1/2 hours.
At Zagora we wanted to catch a CTM bus to Ourzazate, but today’s was full. We could go first thing in the morning. We planned on staying at a different hotel, but as we started walking we ran into Ibrahim.
Sitting there drinking tea, Malaga joined us (it is a small town after all). We caught up on the goss. Hassan had been fired from the shop for drinking too much. This was a surprise, as we had thought it was his, but he just worked on commission. However he had another job at a different shop already. Ibrahim found out we were stuck in Zagora for the night and gave us a choice. We could stay in a cheap hotel he knew, or with his family. We chose the family. A quick ride out to the old Kasbah, and to a new two story building. This is his house here. We dumped our bags and quickly met the family before we were wisked off to the Kasbah itself via the pub.
This one is beautiful. It was originally Jewish, but when they left for Israel, Ishmael’s family took over the businesses. They still do the silver smithing the old fashioned way. Old clay moulds and a small crucible. They only poor the silver in the morning and evening, but we were still treated to a demonstration. From here we made our way to the central courtyard. There were some magnificent old doors that are currently being restored. From here you wind your way through a long hallway crammed with exotic wares from antique doors to fossil filled birdbaths. Inside the main room is an Aladdin’s cave.
It is magnificent. There are cases of antiques that belong in a museum (they are trying to set one up) and a mixture of things for sale. There is old Delft china from Holland, and pieces from China that have made their way through the trade routes to end up here. It is truly a sight to see. However it would have been impossible to find without Ibrahim. We were taken into the main showroom, where we were told that a lot of merchants still come here to buy the silver. Mainly they are wholesalers, but if we wanted anything…. We didn’t but left with a lot of information.
Now it was time to grab a couple more beers. Back to the main part of town, and into the local. We rejoined Malaga, and had a beer or two. This being the local we moved on quickly. Not sure if it was Anna’s presence, or if it was to stop us being pestered, but we then moved to one of the more exclusive hotels. There had just been a film festival, and the hotel still had many of the stars staying there. We just didn’t know any of them. A few more drinks, and we were off to another. This turned into a pub crawl of Zagora. We were taken to all the fine hotels in town, sampling their wares. There are quite a few of them.
It was great to run into him again, and we are hoping to look him up in Casablanca where he lives.
His family was great, and the food delicious. We went for a walk after dinner to let the food settle, and half expected to end up at another hotel, however this was luckily not the case. We just did the block and went to bed.