13 November 2012

Long Walk to Old Town and around
Harvest of Dates and Olives
Hotel Again – WHY?!?

Andrew was feeling a bit better this morning, but not interested in eating the breakfast that was being pushed on us by the hotelier.  We were a bit sick of him by this stage.
We knew there was an old Kasbah 2km out  of town, and made our way there.  The walk was pretty good, and in the sun, quite warm.  We had to stop half way though as we could see the snow capped mountains clearly.  We had glimpsed them on the bus yesterday, but here they were in all their glory.  It has been a long time since either one of us has seen snow (2005 in the Baltics).  The snow had come at the same time it was raining on us in the Sahara.  From here we crossed the dry river and entered Old Skoura.  The village is a wide area, with no real roads.  The houses are dispersed among the fields, and ruins dotted the place.  Sometimes it is hard to tell what is a ruin and what is still being used.  We had met a nice guy yesterday that said he lived here, and wanted to see him again today.  Unfortunately, we never did find him.

We went . . . Left.
No, wait. It was RIGHT!

As we made our way around town, we started noticing arrows painted on everything.  There were two types.  One a solid red, and the other red with a white outline.  We decided to follow the white ones.  These led us on a merry walk around the town, down lain ways, through fields and over another creek bed.  The entire place is dotted with date palms, and olive trees in between.  There were apple orchards and pomegranates as well.
On the other side of the creek the town dried up.  There were a few buildings in the distance, and hardly any trees.  We assumed the arrows were pointing to a resort, but as we got closer, we found it was a government building and the arrows went around it and continued on.  As we didn’t know what they were for, or where they would lead we stopped following them.  They had provided us with a good tour around the town, but after two hours, we thought they would never end.
Cutting back across the creek we stopped for a break.  People were walking along with buckets picking up the fallen olives.  They looked a bit surprised to see two tourists sitting here, and happily greeted us as they moved on.  Then there were more fields, crops and groves.  In one section there were people harvesting the dates.

Harvesting the dates. Against all OH&S

A rickety ladder had been put up against one of the palms, and there was a person perched on top with a nasty looking sickle.  More people were standing around below watching.  Again the greetings, and as we were passing, they stopped us.  Not sure what was happening, we did.  IT was to give us some dates and explain what was going on.  There is a big tarpaulin on the ground, and every time the man in the tree cuts a bunch of dates, they are thrown down on that.  We were told to go and pick some to sample.  Andrew picked a nice smooth looking date, and someone rushed forwards.  Not that one.  Its no good!  Apparently dates have to be soft and wrinkly.  On the mat there were also some other orange looking dates.  We asked about these thinking they were a different type.  Apparently sometimes the dates get too heavy and the branch breaks.  These dates were Mort.  Dead.  But would still be fed to stock and not wasted.
With our pockets bulging with fresh dates we headed on.  Now we were totally lost.  We knew which direction that we had to go, and occasionally a large Kasbah appeared above the trees and we made our way towards it.  Thinking this is the one the town is named for.

More mud housing. I just made mud pies as a kid.

On finding it, we found the local garbage dump.  There was one entrance, and you could not go through it for used nappies, broken bottles, and piles of fragrant refuse.  So on re-orientating ourselves we headed back to town.

Back in town it was too late to head out, so we checked out the other hotel (there were plenty in Old Skoura, but we couldn’t get our bags there).  It was worse than where we were staying.  The bathroom was a shambles and there was no chance of hot water.  We decided to go back to where we were the night before.  Picking up soup at the Wifi place to find out where Mgoun gorge really is, as it is definitely not here.  The person there is FANTASTIC!  Good food, reasonable price, and if you ask, they will turn on Wifi for you.  At first we thought it wouldn’t exist, the same as in a few other places, but they do have it.  He also told us we had to go to a different town to get to the gorges.

We went to bed happy, and although we didn’t buy any of the alcohol being pushed on us at the hotel, we still managed a warm shower.



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