Wednesday, January 21

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Today we had a long drive to Marrakesh. We stopped at a couple smallish towns for rest stops and our lunch break, and I was struck by the cloudy air and the overpowering stench of diesel fuel fumes. Also, for the most part, homes looked rundown and poor, and many many people were on bicycle, dirt bikes, or guiding donkeys on foot. It’s just so vastly different from what I’m used to, and I’m so glad to get a chance to see it all.

There was one notable exception to the rundown small-town look. We passed through a town that looked just like a quaint Swiss, or maybe French, chalet. Like it was meant for skiing, with steep sloped roofs and well-manicured landscaping. Crazy. We found cold medicine and Smile cookies there. Nice.
Notice how there are people painting the curbs. Apparently the king was going to pass through town, so they got everything freshly painted and spruced up for him.

Again, we were on these crazy, curvy roads through the Middle Atlas Mountains. At one point, the road wasn’t even finished, or maybe it was being redone, and we had to take this detour alongside the main road, on a rocky, bumpy dirt path. And this is the national road!

Our Moroccan government-appointed guide was getting annoying today. After every stop we made, he talked nonstop (into the microphone) for 20 or 30 minutes. About NOTHING. Today he talked about couscous and semolina for ten minutes. I don’t think he would have talked quite so long if Maggie, the front-seat sitter, didn’t ask him questions and act so interested. Sometimes Maggie asked him a question that no one else could hear, and he’d respond over the microphone, “Yes, a little bit . . .” or whatever. Grrrr. The nerve of that guy, interrupting my naptime.

When we finally reached Marrakesh, we got in a car accident. Or rather, a bus/cart accident. This three-wheeled bicycle/cart thing swerved in front of the bus and we hit it. There were three people on board the cart and they all got knocked into the street, but no one was really hurt. The bus had minor damages to the headlight and some scratches. We were stopped in the middle of the road and the traffic built up all around us, with everyone honking and trying to get around us. Kind of exciting. We ended up getting moved to another tour bus that took us to our hotel.

The hotel was nice, and we had a good dinner. The hotel has this awesome game room with pool tables and a bar. Great gigantic light fixtures and ornate woodwork. We didn’t stay though. Alcohol is really expensive in Morocco, due to it being an Islamic country and all.