Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Leaving the Desert

The night before we left the desert, Youseff, who we were huge fans of until then, tried to offer us a dash of cayenne and convince us to pay him extra to take the camels nine kilometers to the next village where we could catch a more direct route to his cousin's riad in Afah.

The alternative would be to walk four kilometers the other direction to the main road and possibly get stuck in the heat waiting for a car. There was also a taxi strike going on in Zagora, which could complicate matters.

In trying to convince us to pay the 300 dirham for the camels (he eventually brought the price down to 50 each if we threw in Dan's headphones...or a shirt or some jewelry), he insisted the walk would be too strenuous with our bags and that we were too "gentle" to make it.

Little did he know, that's a severe insult for a small girl with a napoleon complex and distaste for words like "cute," "delicate," or anything implying weakness. Plus, we're both always up for a challenge and a good story.

So we walk. Blazing Saharan sun. Sand in shoes. Sand in face. Sand everywhere. Bags in tow...until we reach the nearest road.

Please note that this is all while wearing a black, long sleeve jacket as my attempt to be modest and respectful here, which is a little absurd as Dan spent the better part of the previous day entertaining the men with multiple screenings of Shakira's "She Wolf" video on his iPod.

If you haven't seen it yet, you should look it up (or just click below), but it's not exactly a model display of modesty and restraint.

Anyway, we hitchhike on the back of a truck through the mountains into Oulad Driss, where, through lots of confusion, yelling in Arabic, angry people, strike complications, we manage to take a few taxis to the riad, where we stay the night with his cousin.

First shower in a few days. Hot water! Olive and tomato omelet. Generous bowls of fruit. Camel tagine.
Pick fresh dates off the palm trees from the roof terrace. So many luscious, sweet dates!

Spend a lot of time together watching TV. An Arabic hidden camera show. National geographic type show on China. Camel racing.

It's calm here. So worth the walk.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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