Meeting my new companion
Trip Start Aug 04, 2008
42Trip End Oct 15, 2008
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Have just qrrived in Khenifra, south of Meknes and at the foot of the Atlas, where I met the guy who's gooing to be ,y guide for the next week or so...he is reqlly cool, more qbout him soon.
Stay tuned for ,ore, pics qlso on their way
Second day on the road by myself in Morocco. After waking up several time when it was still dark, I finally get up at around 9am, get quickly dressed and leave my little room at the Marhaba hotel in central Asilah to get some breakfast down the road.
Unfortunately the wi-fi internet I was free-riding from the hotel next door - see previous post - stopped working last night before I could manage to upload any pictures from arrival in Tangier and the short drive to Asilah. Hence the initial paragraphs of this entry, typed more for a laugh than for any other more practical reason.
So I met earlier tonight the guy who's going to be my guide in this stretch of my trip. As I mentioned in a previous post, I will keep his name a mystery for the time being, but will definitely give you all more info at a later stage in case you'll happen to be traveling this corner of Morocco one day. He's extremely cool and knows about tourist routes, mountain trekking and desert expeditions in and around his native Khenifra, a smallish town about 130Ks south of Meknes in central Morocco.
It was a very pleasant drive from Meknes to here.
A few kilometers outside the city centre the road to Fes splits, and in the direction of Khenifra it soon climbs up some hills and the landscape changes quite dramatically, the first evidence that one is approaching the Atlas Mountains.
Traffic, police presence, Moroccan flags, and the heat also take a dive, accompanied by a feeling that this is now a much friendlier and laid back country, starkly different from the chaotic introduction that is Tangier, or popular destinations such as Casablanca and Marrakesh. Lots of people wave at Monty and me while we pass small villages, big smiles on their faces, and I also exchange a couple of words with one of the ubiquitous truck drivers that stop near my rest spot while I'm having coffee and ask for a drink of water - which I'm gladly able to give him straight off the handy jerry cans some friends left with me after the Boom festival in Portugal.
As the road keeps climbing up, so does my mood. I really felt well, being in this place in space at this specific moment, having taken decisions and steps that finally brought me in Morocco, which I'm discovering it turns out to be a very welcoming country, and Moroccans very friendly and approachable indeed, miles away from the idea we have of them in Europe - or at least in those countries like Italy and France where they are a strong presence among immigrants.
However poor my French was, all the people I briefly met today did their best in order to understand what I was after and how they could help me. Not for a moment I felt threatened or fooled around, but try to tell this to some of my friends back in Italy - nevermind my parents or people their generation! - and they would frown at the idea of traveling solo in a country like Morocco, fearing their European innocence might be taken advantage of.
I don't want to get too much into the socio-political here - and some of you may find incorrect the way I'm talking about the issue - so I will just leave you with a question to ponder on: would a Moroccan traveler be treated with the same comprehension and respect if they happened to be driving in a European country of which they didn't know the language nor the habits?
I might take up this topic again in the near future, in the meantime any feedback will be greatly appreciated and mulled upon.
Thanks for listening, Stay Tuned.
p.s.: pics as soon as I connect my laptop to the net, cheers.