Last morning in Amjgog
Minibus to Boutaghrar
The last morning in Amjgog. After yesterdays treatment we were not inclined to stay longer and wanted to move on to Boutaghrar. The son of the family had said that there was only one minibus at 6.00 in the morning, but he was willing to take us in his car at 8.00. Great!
At 8.00 he was nowhere to be seen. The building and outside was crawling with the French hikers, having breakfast and packing up. They are doing a four day hike from here and are taking five mules and muleteers with them. The poor animals were loaded with the necessities like food, gas bottles and blankets. But on top of that they had to carry the backpacks, luggage and even lime-green suitcases that the hikers came with. While the hikers were still here, we were mostly ignored. They left, and suddenly we were told to have tea. We did not really want any, but just wanted to get going. We had no choice, and ended up having tea and breakfast. Finally the son showed his face at about 9.00. We were good to go. An older brother then came up for a chat and mentioned that he was driving a minibus down at 10.00. Oh, Perfect. This way we don’t have to bother the other one. We go down to pay for our stay and are informed that the ride down with his car will cost 200 Dirhams. Good thing there’s a minibus, because that is ridiculous for the small distance. We decline the offer and hang around till 10.00 waiting for the bus to arrive.
When it does, it is unloaded with all passengers and goods. The driver joins the family for tea. Then slowly they start loading goods back on the bus. Bales of roses and corn are dragged from upstairs and shifted in. It is all slow and totally disorganised. The son now drives his own car around and proceeds to load this up too. He was going to charge us 200 Dirhams for a drive he was going to do anyway… He is probably upset with his brother for allowing us on the minibus.
The bus was finally packed by about 12.00 and we were allowed in the back. Sitting on the bales of corn, we were happy to get going. We made it just past the mosque, about a kilometre down the road, when we stopped again. The driver wandered off, possibly for more tea. Coming back we had to get out, for more goods to be loaded. We waited on a nearby log for instructions. Yalla! Yalla! was our cue to get back in. In Morocco everything seems to be : Yalla! Yalla! and wait. Hurry, Hurry for nothing.
Now we are finally moving, stopping every now and then to let more people in. When Boutaghrar came and went, we were at bit worried, but honestly could not care less. Boutaghrar or the highway was the same to us at that point. But we were dropped in the new part of Boutaghrar on the other side of the river. The trip down cost about double what the ride up had costed..
The Gite D’Etappe here is more like a hotel. Very nicely set up and decorated. The room price was 150 per person per night, including breakfast and dinner. Yeah, we were hoping for something cheaper. Boutaghrar is a bigger village and there are other things in town, so we made to leave. We were stopped and the room was now suddenly 150 for both of us. That’s much better and we stayed. The grand tour of the place is quite impressive. They have really tried here and made full use of the amazing views over the river with multiple terraces.
A walk around town to get a drink is disappointing. There are cafe’s and shops, but they are all closed. As it turns out, we had forgotten it is Friday and afternoon prayers are on. Nothing will be open for the next two hours. We wander down the river a bit and are astonished by the amount of garbage around. This river is the lifeblood here. The people eat of theses fields and wash in the water.
How can they ask the tourist to “please be considered and keep the place clean” if they are dumping their own garbage wherever they feel like? In amongst the rubbish we discovered a happy colony of frogs, that have adapted well to their surroundings.
When looking past the mess, this area is stunning.
The town is mostly build up of old style mud buildings, with an old Kasbah in the middle. The mountains surrounding it are in reds and oranges and it all blends nicely.
We go back up and some of the cafe’s are open again. A nice coffee and we set of for a walk around. We only make it round the corner when we get invited for a cup of tea. Why not? Sahid has a little souvenir shop here, next to the butcher (who has just put out his advertising for the day : A fresh cows head). We enjoy the tea and chat, his English is pretty good. He has some beautiful agates that he buys off the nomads. The nomads find them on their travels around these mountains and sell them on as a bit of side business.
Town itself is pretty small and by night fall, 5ish, we make it back to the gite. Dinner will be served between 19.00 and 20.00. We can’t wait, as we haven’t eaten since the small breakfast. It is an omelette tangine, overflowing with veggies! just what we needed. The guy here, Ali, is very nice and between a bit of French and English we get along well. He is engaged to a Berber girl and hopes to get married in the next few years. Sahid pops in later and they play some music for us after dinner. This can probably go on all night if we wanted to, but we are tired and turn in.