1105 A Refreshingly Modern Town (Mor 347)

Trip Start Aug 15, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Morocco  , Guelmim-Es Smara,
Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 049: 10 hours, 11.2 kms

From Tarfaya I continue on to El Ayoun, the capital of the Sahara region, but I don't tarry long. I already explored this city back in 2009 on my way to Senegal and now I have another priority: Boujdour.

Boujdour is one of the few sizeable towns in the South Sahara region (there are 4 to be exact), and even though it’s well out of my way, I don’t feel I’ll be able to say I thoroughly explored this part of the the country until I pay it a visit.  And so, in El Ayoun I wait for a collective taxi to fill up that’s heading that direction, and as dusk approaches we finally continue along the coast south to the Middle of Nowhere.

After a couple hours of riding through empty desert on a solitary narrow road, we reach the turnoff to Boujdour, and the narrow road turns into a well lit six lane boulevard. We reach the town and I’m pleasantly surprised to see a classy main street with upscale cafes, a plaza with music blaring as the political parties do some last minute campaigning… a refreshingly alive city.

It takes me a while to find a hotel, as most of them are either full, closed down, or too expensive.  A couple young fellows offer to help me out.  They are They explain a little bit about the history of the town.  "Boujdour used to be just a tiny little fishing village, but now a new port has been built and many people from outside have been brought in to work here—we are actually Berbers from Agadir region. The goal is to make this town a major fishing center."

Then next morning I head out to get a better feel of the town.  There’s a cool lighthouse and the coast, which is a little ways a way is pleasant.  Most of the streets are still just wide strips of sand and dirt—reminding me of towns in Senegal and Burkina Faso… clearly Boujdour is still a work in process. But it does seem like a liveable place, and considering the high rate of employment there is elsewhere in the country, it seems like it might be a place of opportunity for people.
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