A Welcome Note: On Filling the Gaps

Dear Friends and Family:

Although I haven't added any posts since the summer of 2007, this blog continues to be a warehouse of my thoughts and experiences from my time abroad.


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Morocco: Day Six

2.28.07 - This morning, I woke up freezing in a traditional Berber tent in a valley of sand dunes in the Sahara Desert. What a contrast to my typical Roman existence. It was cold but beautiful, and with no clouds and a horizon stretching as far as one could possibly imagine, a truly incredible event to see the sun peak out over the distant mountains and dance over the dunes. Before eating, I wandered around the wind-blown hills of sand and marveled at the delicate footprints of birds which skipped over the dunes. After a quick breakfast of bread and honey, we packed up and mounted the caravan of camels. A bit more sore than the day before, we rode back to Zagora proper where we climbed back into our expedition bus and began the six hour drive back to Marrakesh, stopping along the way for sites and bathroom breaks (of course). The trip here fit in nicely with everything else in Morocco. Everyone here is in cahoots with everyone else, the bus driver included. He would only stop at certain places (probably because he got kickbacks from the restaurant owners) to let us use that bathroom, no matter how badly people in the bus had to go! Most of us slept much of the way back, peaking out of the windows from time to time at the spectacular views, always changing with the sun. Finally, around 7PM we arrived in Marrakesh proper and continued on to the train station where some of us were going to buy our tickets for the next morning and others were planning on leaving that night for Tangier. Just as we were passing through the main wall separating the Medina from the Ville Nouvelle, we noticed white smoke billowing from the front of the car. The van driver, swerved to the side of the road and jumped out. He ran over to the other side, slid open the back door and as we hurried out of the smoking vehicle, popped open the hood. Clearly the engine had overheated after a long day of driving in the heat. At this point, we were close enough to the station to walk the rest of the way, so after removing the remainder of our bags and tipping the driver, we headed for the station and left him to deal with the vehicle. How lucky we were! Had we overheated and broken down at any other point in the journey, we would have been really up the creek! It would have taken at least another three to six hours for another bus to come and pick us up if the one we were in was unable to be restarted safely! Unable to fully comprehend how close we were to being stranded in the desert, we made our way down Muhammad I, then Muhammad IV, the V, the VI and finally to the station where we purchased tickets and saw off Jenny, Mimi and Dianna. The rest of us, four now, booked rooms at a nice hotel for 30 euro and took the best showers of our lives. By this point my beard had really grown in and I felt pretty grubby, so when I finally had soap in my hands I was quite content. After cleaning up we grabbed a quick dinner and got to sleep early to make our 5:00 AM train to Fez that left the next day.
Thanks for visitng!