NOTHING but me and the desert...

Trip Start Jan 07, 2010
Trip End Apr 12, 2010

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Where I stayed
Auberge Wilderness Lodge

Flag of Morocco  ,
Saturday, February 13, 2010

It is currently 11pm here in Merzouga... I have officially made it!!!! I am soo overwhelmed
right now that I can't stop smiling! As soon as I found this place I am staying at had a
terrace I went up there and just fell to my knees and then my back as I saw the Billions
of stars staring at me! The air was crisp, it is warm and the night is quiet. The day
has not been filled with such emotions of joy though.

The Day begun at 5:45am as an eye squinted and then a wake-up phone call. I was in a hotel
room again. This was due to the fact that as I went to buy a ticket for a bus that was
officially listed on the internet website for Merzouga, only to be sent back and fourth
between two buildings about 2 blocks apart because appently there is no bus for that route.
That was a whole new wrench thrown into the works... I ended up finding a bus station for
a bus to Errachidia which was the closest they could get me, but it didn't leave until the
NEXT morning at 7:30! I headed back to my old hostel knowing that they were full just in
case, and to no surpise they were still full. I knew where I could get a cheap bed in a
very good hostel elsewhere but I wanted to be close to the station. There was a hotel called
Ibis which was 2 blocks away and located right beside the train station because it would be
expensive. I reached a point of exhaustion due to walking all over the city with my 600
pound backpack that I was staying in that hotel no matter what. The asking price was 585dh
or around $78 which was alot considering I had been paying approximately 100dh other nights.
I was able to get the room for 508dh ($68) and headed very happily to my mansion. It is such a
good treat to have a hotel room every now and then and I enjoyed every hour of it!

As I woke that morning of the bus ride which would be about 10 hours I headed for some
breakfast was more than I had been giving lately. Its usually bread and well thats it...but
that morning I had some jam, yogurt, hot chocolate and cereal! Once on the bus I took the
front seat because I wanted to see as much of the countryside as possible. The ride took me
through one of thee most amazing vehicle rides ever. A 4 or 5 hour ride through gourges,
mountains, valley, villages and from the tips of these mountains right to the floor.
The road was narrow and very very meandering, one too long of a blink from the bus driver
certainly ment death as we'd plunge down the mountain. After some stops for lunch and
picking up other passengers in villages along the way we reached a large city roughly a
couple hours away from the last stop. Here a gentleman entered and immediately offered a
ride to Merzouga for 30dh to a Japanesse girl who got on the bus in Marrakech as I did.
He than approached me, the bus driver had told him we wanted to get there I guess..
(thx driver). At first the deal seemed pretty good, I was all for it and the Japanesse
girl was unsure and calling her hostel she booked in Merzouga for advice. The man said he
had just dropped off some tourist and was heading back with or without us. This was the
where I began to talk with the Japanesse girl because the whole bus trip I was asking
people if they were going here so we could travel together and split the required cab costs
to come. We consulted with each other as the bus travelled to the next town, and then it
hit me. If it sounds to good to be true it probly is.... I started to question why tourist
would be getting dropped off where he was due to its non touristy location. I also
questioned why he wouldn't let us ride with him from the spot we met since his van was
visible and empty...His english was very good which I wondered because no one else on the
bus I heard or met really spoke it, including the bus driver. Next town comes and the guy
who I will call chump (do to the white jogging suit thing he was wearing) is there as says
lets go! I say No sorry I changed my mind, he than hes to the Japanesse girl who I will call
M because I can't remember, pronounce, or spell. So M and I have declined and after some
other tactic such as "you can call these people they are Canadians and blah blah to validate
my claims...After some more talking and this and that stuff he goes to get a card and some
pass he was talking about. I asked for the card to the so called organization he belonged
to. So he comes back with his card and ok it looks real so I asked to keep it for reference
later to a desert tour and he kinda stumbles and hesitates but agrees... After still
receiving a no from me he snaches his card (if it was real why wouldn't he leave it with me)
and starts to leave the bus, but not before say F*** You, lol which I thought was pretty
funny how he tried so hard for so long to try and get my trust. He unfortunetly was not
finished yet, with one foot hanging out the door he looks back and says, "you don't be
sorry, im sorry for you! Remember this face I will see you in Merzouga!" I forgot to mention
that as the man was asking the Japanesse girl to come a guy that was getting on the bus at
this stop as having a smoke outside and waving he finger in the no pattern and point to the
man. So that made the decision a def. no go! Chump leaves and bus is moving and after the
guy who waved his finger as to say no (will call tricky) talks to the bus driver for a bit
talks to me very friendly saying how that man is always doing this and he sees him
often here. He is full of lies and just wants your money and will pickpocket you (rob perhaps).
I start thanking this guy for his advice and help when it HITS me, why is tricky's english
just as good as chump's!!!!!!!! Maybe they are on the same team or something because they
did had a brief convo together, so I start to back off talking to tricky because along
with his useful advice he does start talking about sharing a ride to her and there blah blah
this and that... I asked for his card for the company he claimed to work for and he actually
gave it and left it with me. He got off the bus right on the edge of Errachidia (final stop)
and did a final ask for help and some more blah blah. The bus driver than pulls over and
picks up a nicely dressed man, now im not that good in french but I understood they were
talking about M and I and trying to get us in his taxi. This bus driver is noooooooo good!
Everything from the beginning is a set up and he is in on it alll!!! Surpirisingly the new
man on the bus starts asking me how I am...(here is comes i say to myself) and sure enough
"so you need a cab to Merzouga?" Like clockwork and then moves on to M. Im getting upset
by this point and just want to be left alone and can't trust anyone so I start throwning
some wrenches in such as thinking about staying the night in this place and then travelling
on in the the morning and blah blah. As bus pulls into station there are people peering
into the windows eyeing me out (tourist) and following the bus, I honestly never knew I had
so many friends until I stepped off that bus! I felt like a celebrity and wanted to do
autographs. It was stupid so I told M to follow me and lets get outta here first then figure
our next move. As we walk up a hill and after a minute or two on top, like MAGIC Tricky
comes across the street (KNEW THIS GUY WAS ONE OF EM) offering some help and such, but he
is with one of this friends from down at the station. Anyways after numerous other encounters
we eventually find the place to get on what is called a Grand Taxis which service the outside
of city places. It consists of packing a car full (3 in front-4 in back) and each paying
25dh to get somewhere in a similar direction. It was dark out now and everything was so
sketchy and fast and busy. The car full of Me, M and other locals of morocco headed out
into the night going to what I hoped was Rissini. Driver did some sketchy stops but we
actually made it there. We still needed to get to Merzouga and I had no clue where I was
going to stay so I asked M to ask the hostel she was staying if there was room for me. She
said with her beg. english that it was a Japanse one if thats ok, I said yes!!!
I really didn't care at this point about much! So yes it was a go and for 150 dh charge
they hostel would pick us up from Rissini. The Grand taxi ride was an hour and a half. We
were picked up by some stranger and after some talking he seemed legit. So here I am, typing
this out in a room in a hostel that I can not say the name because I seriously don't know it.
I ate some supper here, met some nice poeple already and did the whole thing on the roof!!!
I can't believe that the only thing separating me from the Sahara Desert is a nights sleep
so I will leave it at that!! This day was crazy, I always forget some things and details,
some of which are pretty important sometimes lol but oh well. Im trying. All I know is that
tommorow night I am sleeping overnight in the desert! (its planned already!!!)


I DID IT! I slept in the Sahara Desert, 20 km from the Algerian border which I could see.
Journey involved riding a Camel for about 1.5 hrs into a very small Berber village I guess
you could say. There were a few families living together in the area in tents. They had
goats, chickens, donkey and cats that I saw. I will never forget the camels, we exited our
hostel to see 4 camels sitting in the sand, but the part I will never forget is once I was
on my camel and it all of a sudden stands up! I didn't not really think about how tall camels
are, but I found out because I couldn't believe how high in the air I was!!! It was CRAZY!
As well come around this large sand dune several tents all start appearing and I realized
this is it, we are here. We climb another gigantic dune ( peaks at 350m ) to watch the sunset
and hangout for a bit. We than had a gigantic meal cooked by the Berber people which was
delicious! The stars were everywhere!! We had a new moon so all you could see were stars. I
lay there in the sand watching shooting stars to by and feel the sand inbetween my feet and
struggle to believe that I am here in the Sahara Desert staring at the stars...

The night did get cool, but once I found out were I was sleeping I found 3 blankets. After a
what seemed like short nap, I decided to get up early and climb the dune and watch the
sunrise. The only other place where I have felt the peace and quiet that the desert provides
is scuba diving, it is truely an amazing experience.

I climbed 2 different sand dunes or what felt like mountains! It is very difficult to climb
these bad boys. The sand is very orange and fine, like the sand in an hour glass. There is
a slight breeze in the air and once you reach the top you find it is totally worth it, for in
some dirrections it is nothing but sand as far as you can see! It is the worlds largest
litter box, and I am in it. This was a nice get away from all the hustle and bustle of the

It has taken me since Feb. 5th to get here, 6 days. I had nothing but a ticket and a goal in
the beginning. Now I have a container of sand (along with something special in it) and a
handful of memories! I am however ready to get outta Morocco and continue my journey. So
in approx. 30 minutes I will be entering the first stage of many to get to where my plane
leaves from. Marrakesh is about 12 hours from here, but its not a point A-B ride. Satisfied
and complete I leave Merzouga where the deserts have not let me down, it was an amazing
experience and one of the greatest moments of my life.

Jot Notes:
-Joseph hotel with brothers
-Simplicity Photos
-Waiting for supper forever
-Disappearing Omar
-Nut crushing camel ride home :(
-Large desert beatles
-Grand Taxi at night, 4 strangers
-Roof Top Night Sky


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Leanne on

Some amazing pictures.........way to go Kevin.......and glad you are thinking and cautious at all times......Trust your instincts....they won't steer you wrong.....Take care and keep up the great postings.....I love reading about and seeing your adventures.......

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