Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Safari - Day 2 Zagora

Day 2 of the Safari meant driving across southern Morocco to near the Algerian border and eventually to the town of Zagora, where we would hop on camels and go about 6 miles into the desert and get a taste of Berber nomad life.  To do that we had to wear something to shield the wind from stinging our face, hence the Lawrence of Arabia look.

But this is Morocco and there is always time to wait....and wait...and wait... and we did and decided to have tea.  Me being a germaphobe, makes it difficult to drink out of glass that may have not been properly washed since... well since it was blown in a factory.  However, that is one of my goals, to be a bit less germaphobic and it begins in trusting that my body, over the years, has built up some immunities.  I was also quite thirsty.

   I can't imagine what the Berber guides must be thinking... actually, I can and it must be something like this:
a) let me get this straight. You gringos own big homes with comfortable air conditioned bedrooms with a nice bed and shower... and you pay money to sleep in a giant tent with 20 other gringos with smelly feet?
b) We're trying to earn our way into civilization and you gringos, think that it's "fun" to live like we suffer.  Amazing!?!?!

  Our main guide Ahmad was quite an amazing person. He could speak Spanish, Arabic, Berber, French, English, German and a bit of Japanese... and he was earning about 10 bucks a day.

Our secondary guide could only speak three languages, Berber, Arabic, and French.  He wasn't as friendly as Ahmad, but warmed up over the time.  I think I know what set him off.  I couldn't ride a camel because it takes the manhood out of me in a very painful way.  I have a long trip ahead of me and have no desire to be neutered along the way.  I told Ahmad that I'd walk and he gave me the reins of the 10 camels, which were all tied together and I led them.  We talked quite a bit along the way.


The Brits all rode camels...but then they ARE Brits.  Okay, I'm just having fun with them.

Everyone was complaining of the pain, but me.  Smart move for once. See, I can make good decisions!!  It was difficult to walk up even the smallest sand dune, but knowing that I would not have the opportunity too often, it was fun.  I decided to wear sandals instead of my hiking boots.  Good decision #2 because the sand was so fine it got into everything.  Several of the Brits cameras stopped working because of the sand.
     We went into the desert to see a sunrise and stayed in tents that had 6 bedsides in them.  The beds were just layers of blankets.  Glad I bought my sheet.

     For dinner, we ate in the main "mess hall" tent and had couscous and chicken...  A lot of couscous and a wee bit of chicken.  The bathroom was better than I expected.  Still had squat toilets, but at least there were toilets.  Not much water so everything just kind of hung around...if you get my drift.
    At night, the Berbers, all six of them, played their instruments and some people, with the aid of hash, danced like they knew what they were doing.  I was quite content being a wall flower, though I must admit I admired the uninhibited people.
   Early came early, though we stayed up till 2 in the morning and looked at a gazillion stars.  Nothing like seeing stars to make a person feel rather insignificant.
    The sunrise was awesome and worth getting up with only a few hours of sleep.   I took several pictures of the camels who somehow looked more tired than me.  We left the camp within 25 minutes of waking and that included eating "breakfast".

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
Sir Winston Churchill