Marrakech Express

Apparently I need to write this quickly, since Neil doesn’t want to pay for more than 30 minutes of Internet. Great, I got myself a cheap husband (kidding!) (mostly).

Thankfully, this particular internet cafe has the option available to change the keyboard from French to English layout, so typing will be much faster than last time.

Unfortunately, thanks to an influx of sand and bad wine (oh those Moroccans, so proud of their awful, AWFUL wine), my brain isn’t actually that fast, so I don’t have anything particularly poignant to say about the latter half of the Morocco part of the trip.

But I’ll share a short adventure tale:

After we left Fes (getting there from Marrakech via Casablanca and Rabat for those playing along at home) we made our way south to Merzouga to embark on our overnight camel trek.

Unfortunately we got a full-on Saharan sandstorm instead.

But the itinerary must be adhered to!

So picture this: complete beige-out conditions, we’ve got about 3m visibility in any given direction, and sand is blowing into the vehicle through any possible entry-point (air vents, window cracks, door jambs, etc.). Mini-dunes are building up on the road behind any available obstacles: rocks, trees, uneven pavement, abandoned vehicles – the mini-dunes are anywhere from a couple inches to a full two feet high. Palm trees and concrete power poles are toppling in the powerful winds.

And we’re carreening through this, over the tiny dunes, around the fallen trees, past frightened camels.

At 100km/h.

To say we were relieved to finally reach the resorts at the dunes is perhaps the biggest understatement I’ve ever made.

Needless to say we did not embark on the camels that evening.

The tour company did pull through though, and arranged for a suite in one of the nicest kasbahs in the area to wait out the storm. Typically they (the storms, not the Kasbahs) die out overnight and don’t start up again until the next afternoon.

So we whiled away the hours hiding from the sand and drinking Moroccan beer (marginally better than Heineken, but MUCH better than the wine) before we fell asleep.

And the desert sands lived up to the promise: the wind was gone at 5:00am and we headed out to catch the sun rising over Algeria from the Dunes of Erg Chebbi.

It was exactly as impressive as you’d think.

Unfortunately, I can’t share a picture right now, because USB connections, card readers or cd burning seem pretty nonexistent in this neck of the woods. But trust me, it was pretty awesome.

(Oh god – the person across the aisle in this internet cafe is blasting Fergie: must finish quick and run far, far away.)

After Merzouga we went to Ouarzazate, then back to Marrakech (our favourite city in Morocco so far). Tomorrow night we take the night train (Marrakech Express) to Tangier, then a ferry to Algeciras, rent a car and drive for a couple hours into the middle of nowhere (Gaucin) and just chill out for a week.

Hopefully the internet situation in Spain is a bit more favourable.

Hasta Luego!

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2 thoughts on “Marrakech Express

  1. jen

    Is this the ferry you’re taking? http://flickr.com/photos/bradr/2391349198/

    Some of the places you are visiting sound familiar, maybe because of the trip my brother and parents were just on, but it makes it easier to picture and makes the world seem a bit less huge (although no less impressive).

    Can’t wait to see the photo of the sunrise. Sounds like you are having a great adventure.

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