A travel day. Soon we are just going to take a day off and say we sat at the bus stop all day waiting for a bus. Some times it feels the same, except more boring.
However on going to the Boumalne grand taxi stop, located conveniently less than 200m from our hotel (THAT HAD HOT WATER!) we found a taxi that only needed two more people. We jumped in the deluxe station wagon and set out. The person beside Anna spoke some English, and started talking about his organisation. It tuned out to be the Peace Corps. I was happy in the back just looking at the scenery going past. The trip itself was uneventful. We passed a mine in the distance and found out that this is one of the oldest silver mines in Africa. Then there was nothing but a few hills and plains of rocks until we reached Tinghir. This is where we will base ourselves for the last of the three gorges. We had been told by some people to skip this one, but as it is so close, we decided to go.
Tinghir is a provincial capital, and has the largest palm grove in Morocco, stretching out over 50km. The town itself is pretty spread out. On driving in, we passed the largest open air souk we had seen, but it is only working on Mondays. We had just missed it.
At the taxi stop, I realised that I still had the key from our last hotel in my pocket. This was shameful, I had thought about leaving it in the door, but didn’t. However the taxi driver came to the rescue, and after a group discussion on where the hotel was (as I can never remember the names of the hotels we stay at), he said he would return it for me when he went back. Whoever you are, Thank you!
There are plenty of cheep hotels here, as it is a very touristy city, so we had no problem finding basic accommodation. Ok, it is simple, the toilet hasn’t been cleaned (and a squat) and we found out later that the sheets still had the sand and hair of the last occupant in it. We have found in Morocco that people spend more time cleaning their front step of the shop with buckets of water than they do the rooms! This isn’t a problem for us as we are travelling with our own sheet, as we expected as much from travelling Jordan.
After settling in we set out for a look around town.
There is a daily market just behind the hotel, with everyone setting out their tarpaulins, stools, and carts. The offerings were mobile phones from small little boxes, or shops, fruit & veg, the butchers, bakers (no candlestick makers though) and many people selling second hand appliances and clothing. While wandering through we were picked up by a young man that we couldn’t shake off. On explaining we had no money for a guide,he said it was his day off. He took us through the women’s market. Apparently there are two markets here, one for men and the other for women. The women’s market was clothing and jewellery. From here you can go into the Jewish section of the city. Again they all left in the 60’s. After this was the compulsory carpet shop. We are now thoroughly sick of these, and resolve to drink their tea, look at the carpets and go.
The people were nice though, and the carpets stunning. We were tempted by a few of them. Apparently the people selling them are nomads that come down from the mountains for a month or two in November December to sell the carpets before heading back up the mountain in January. We didn’t quite believe this. On extracting ourselves we headed back to the hotel. Along the way we met someone with an unpronounceable name that we enjoyed talking to and organised to meet him for dinner the next evening.
Back at the hotel we grabbed the laptop to go to the internet cafe to update the blog. As we were heading back out the man from the hotel warned us about people picking up tourists and taking them to carpet shops. They work on commission, and are a nuisance in the city. No surprise there.
We got to update a few days in the blog and turned in for the night.