Looking over the High Atlas Mountains that we passed through on our way between Marrakesh and Fint Oasis.
As Wi-fi is hard to come by in some of the remote parts of Morocco that we are visiting, I can only update the blog wherever possible.
Two days ago we left Marrakesh and headed south to our next destination, Fint Oasis. It was a 188 km trip through beautiful country and mountains. On the side of road, there were many women with cloths covering their faces. These are called niqabs and are worn by some Muslim women in public areas and in front of non-mahram adult males.. Ildiko jokingly said how do they recognise each other if their faces are covered up? I thought over this and suggested that maybe it would go somethin like this. Hi Sissy! The lady with the covered face would reply 'My names not Sissy' Oh, hi Fanny!' 'Not that either' 'Joan?' 'Nop' 'Jean?' Ah ah' Vicky, Sue, Debbie?'
An hour later. 'Stella, Ella, Bella?' Two hours later. Bill, George, Ken? Ray?' 'Ray who?' And then the lady with the mask says 'I've got to go now. Mom says dinners ready' 'Oh! I'll catch yeah tomorrow then' And you would walk off into the hills wondering who the hell was that?
If your reading this you may think I'm crazy!
A sheperd at the side of the road
Up in the High Atlas Mountains
View looking from the hotel
A mule and it's rider crossing the river at Fint Oasis.
Fint Oasis with the authentic Berber villages in the distance
Got a surprise when the actor Brian Dennehy (First Blood and Cocoon movies) stepped up to have ago!
More interested in playing music and dancing in their Berber customs than making the bloody dinner!
Sunset over the Fint Oasis
Lots of Moroccan Wagtail feeding alon the river
Leaving Fint Oasis, we made the long trek to the magnificent Dades Valley. While driving, I was not feeling too good at all and was beginning to think if I had food poisoning. This was confirmed when we settled into a hotel and the first thing I did was head straight to the toilet!
Dades Valley and Gorge All images taken by Ildiko Solymosi
The following day I felt a little better and we drove towards the nearby Gorges. Truly an amazing sight as we drove along the road that funnels through the towering gorges.
This male Blue Rock Thrush performed very well by the car park
As did this Desert Lark with good numbers of White-crowned Black Weatear, Grag martins above and a single Black Redstart.
We were both looking forward to tomorrow as we were going to do one of the things that was going to be one of the highlights of our visit in Morocco. Camel riding in the Sahara Desert! It was crap! No, it wasn't crap, it was just not what we thought it would be and were kind of let down after all the positive things we had been told about it.
At 15.00 we were in the village of Merzouga on the edge of the Sahara and discovered that it was one of the shittiest places that we have ever visited! While driving around, scooters were following us all over the shop and telling us to follow them. If we didn't do what they said, then they would knock on my window demanding us to tell them where we were going! I wouldn't tell them and that made them very upset and frustrated. When at last one of the scooters had left us, you would turn the corner to discover that's there's another waiting and would quickly latch onto you like a leach! I was getting very angry and wanted to tell them to all piss off! Ildiko, quite sensible, told me not to. There behaviour didn't come across as welcoming, but like they were pushing you out of the village, despite them saying all the time 'Welcome to Merzouga' I felt like saying, stick Merzouga up your ass! I hated it!
Approaching the shit town, Merzouga, where everyone tries to push you away by constantly harassing you
After ten minutes of being on Jimi Hendrix, the name of my camel, I was finding myself sliding to one side and almost falling off! Ildiko, who was on Binger-Banger behind me, that don't sound right, couldn't stop laughing. This was no laughing matter, as each time I slid to one side, I felt my balls twisting and was very uncomfortable. When I was sitting up right very briefly, I noticed that everyone else were enjoying the ride and not one was sliding to one side. Why me? An hour and half of pain, we finally arrived to where we will be sleeping for the night. I steadily and causally got off Hendrix and slowly walked off like John Wayne!
Our hotel on the edge of the Sahara Desert
Just coming back from getting the morning papers from the shop down road!
Berbers dancing and playing music around the fire
We decided to call it a day and return to the tent, if we could find the bloody thing! Never mind the tent, we couldn't find the camp! Then I spotted a light in the distance and we headed towards it. After stumbling in the dark, tripping over guide ropes, banging into post and god knows what else, we finally found our tent and jumped into bed. Jesus! We were cold! With four blankets over us, we tried to get some sleep. This was made impossible by the poles that hold the bed together that were digging into our backs. We were beginning to think that we had made the wrong decision in coming out here, but it wasn't, as you lay there reaching out for the stars that look so near. On occasions a shooting star would pass by and later on a vocal owl was on our tent pole! We finally went to sleep with the thought of riding Hendrix in a few hours again.
I noticed that the Berbers walk everywhere. No, there not stupid and when I returned to the hotel, I could hardly walk, along with every other guy that came along. Never again!
This is what you expect to see while driving on the roads of Morooco
Desert road with the Atlas Mountains in the distance
As well as a few Desert Sparrows knocking around, there were also Hoopoe Larks