Sunday, March 18, 2007

Morocco: Back to Marrakech

After we all gathered in the Berber communal tent we spent some time getting to know our hosts and each other better. Food soon arrived, a huge mountain of Couscous, large chunks of vegetables, and chicken. Being on the road for so long and the rigours of camel riding was demonstrated by our ravenous behaviour and the food was soon all gone. Dessert was the same as everywhere in Morocco- oranges. The tables were removed and we were then entertained by 5 of our hosts with Berber songs on drums and clackers. We leaned the ringy ringy ringa song, badly.

After all the festivities I left and took my camel blanket, yup the same one off the camels back, out into the desert and laid on my back watching the amazing starry display all around me. It got cold, real cold and I returned to my shared tent to sleep. Constantly cold I eventually covered myself completely under the camel blanket so some body heat might collect and sleep would come.

The next morning I was wakened by my tent mate at the crack of dawn, apparently I asked him to do this, and stumbled out into the cold desert dawn. Not much of a sunrise but it was the first time we had seen our camp in the light of day. It was a stunning location with large, no, huge dunes all around us. I wandered off to explore and photograph a little. I could see that our camels were being prepped for takeoff so I headed back to make sure that I found a camel with a rubber back bone- no more ridge riding for me. I got my blanket and made sure it was folded as many times as humanly possible so that the distance between the camels backbone and me was maximized.

We were soon off in the suns rising rays. It was incredible as the camel trains were backlit and sidelit by the sun. Shot till I could shoot no more. We arrived to a very mediocre breakfast at the oasis and then we were herded back into our bus for the 8 hour journey to Marrakesh. It was a killer ride and very exhausting. Picture 15 tired, dirty, and sore tourists being driven by a man who spoke none of our languages and determined to break distance and time records for the journey. He was nice to let us out occasionally for washrooms and a lunch break. Getting off the bus we were instantly absorbed, or more accurately, engulfed in the Marrakesh madness of Saturday night.

A welcome site, my hotel, and a warm welcome of: monsieur Paul, we thought you were not coming back!