Tuesday 5 February 2013

Marrakesh... Sahara, what can I say?

Good friends come and stay and the not so good ones, come and go, amen to that!

Two years ago 4 very good friends met in Mumbai, India for a wedding and followed on travelling for a magical week around Rajasthan.  

It was time for us to meet again, so we got together through emails and organized our next get together. Marrakesh and the Sahara were the chosen destinations. This time it would be just three of us. So my friend Kathryn from Australia now living in London, Julie a Canadian living in Hong Kong and myself met in London, boarded an Easyjet plane and off we were to Marrakesh.

Upon arrival, an incident still at the airport quickly got me out of my comfort zone… our bank here in Panama had canceled my ATM card instead of husband’s who had lost his…. oops I was in Morocco with no money at all in a city where credit cards are not widely accepted… madre mia madre santa… but like I said in the beginning, good friends come and stay and Kathryn came to my rescue, thank you!

Mohamed was waiting for us with a nice smile and drove us to our beautiful Riad Aladdin, a really cozy hotel with very charming atmosphere and great people.

We had stupendous 4 days in the city and 3 in the desert… very hard to say which one I liked best… may be, just may be, the desert was nicer… don’t know, very close call.

In the city I was able to witness two friends meeting after three years of not seeing each other,
 Observe a lady opening her general store,
Go crazy and get lost in the maze that the Souks are,
 Be caught in the act by the lady selling her baskets,
 Realize the gentlemen were not so pleased I was registering their end of the day “nothing box”,
 Saw a mother taking her child to school,

… and the list of wonderful experiences in the city goes on and on, but I’ll stop here because I still want to tell you a bit about the desert, the great Sahara Desert.

The three of us left the hotel in a Land Cruiser, this time under the care of Fadil. I really can not describe the super dupar fun the four of us had in this trip… oh man, we laughed so much, cultural and language clashes all over! Fadil was just the perfect, patient and funny guide. He stopped for all our photo needs, explained about the places we were passing by and the best was when we were entering the desert itself.

The government puts up signs letting you know you are actually entering the great Sahara Desert, so they display signs like “You are entering the desert, do you have enough water?” or in the next sign they would ask “do you have enough fuel?” or “don’t litter the desert!” The scenery changed and voilá, there you have nothing else but the majestic and impressive Sahara Desert right at your feet! Ufa, still now, sitting here in my chair looking at so much water from the Pacific Ocean, I can still feel that dryness I so loved to experience!

Anyway, going back to the best part of entering the Sahara… at this pint, Fadil says; “so girls, in order for you to get in the mood, here I have some desert music for you. ”Wow, what a marvelous way he found to put us all, just in case we were not there yet, in the right mood. And there we had it, a tough 4 x 4 performing just like a 4 x 4 does and should in the Sahara, a guide who knew it all and three friends who were thoroughly enjoying the trip and its experience, all dancing to good Tuareg-Berber songs!
 We drove through the Atlas Mountains with snow,
Stopped and spoke to shepherds,
We slept and had lunch in Kasbahs,
Slept in typical Bivouac (a camp site)… what an experience!

Saw camels doing camel stuff with their “hey dude” face,
Woke up looking at this,

Witnessed the damages previous sand storms had made…

… and again I could go for ever and ever…, it seems those days had more than 24 hours, because I came back home with the true feeling of having spent a year or so in those shores!

Thanks for stopping by and as I always say, life is beautiful! 

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