Bug Buffet

Trip Start Dec 16, 2009
Trip End Jan 09, 2010

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Flag of Morocco  , Souss-Massa-Drâa,
Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some crazy storms last night - howling winds and rain, made it difficult to sleep.  There was also this loud banging, perhaps the metallic door that leads up to the rooftop terrace was flexing in the wind.  And I haven't heard this until today since I normally sleep with earplugs, but at dawn there was the Muslim call to prayer, creating an ethereal hum that seemingly envelops the entire city.  Apparently, Mary was freaked out by this the first morning in Marrakech - it does sound a little ominous.  

But what was really scary were the roaches that we encountered in the room last night - still not as big as the ones in the Canary Islands (see blog entry entitled "Is that a cockroach, or a small dog?" http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/canaries-2007/1198797120/tpod.html), but still rather large.  Smart little buggers too, as they quickly hid when I tried squashing one of them.  I had been keeping a little bag of cookies in my backpack, and decided to move that outside of the room, in case it was attracting them.  I left it on a table out in the sitting area last night, and when we woke up this morning, it was gone.  It could have been the Riad's workers cleaning up, but I don't doubt that these giant roaches walked by and took the entire bag!

Mary was quite concerned last night that they would crawl all over her as she slept, since she's now been traumatized by the repeated feasts that fleas/bugs have had on her legs over the past four trips.  She's become quite a popular Bug Buffet with various insects.

Up at 6 AM to get ready and pack up for the start our 3-day tour to the Sahara dessert.  Despite the limited amount of sleep, it was quite a good night's rest, as it was some pretty high-quality sleep.  The minivan came to pick us up and continued on to the Place, where additional guests boarded.  I am sad to report that it wasn't like in the pictures shown to me last night by the tour rep, and there were no Spanish females on board :(  I quietly sobbed in a little corner of the van ...

The tour is quite inexpensive, so our driver didn't function as much of a guide, only occasionally announcing where we were stopping.  Really, all we were paying for is transportation to and from the departure point for the camel tour into the Sahara.  

We later stopped for a bathroom break, where I picked up some mint tea in the hopes of warming up - no such luck!  But it did help ward off motion sickness later on, as the van whipped around tight and twisty little corners up in the mountains.  

There is some very interesting scenery in the mountains and valleys of Morocco, which is quite unexpected, given the common notion that it's purely a land of desert and Nomads.  Interesting rock formations, palm trees, and streams ... some of the valleys are much greener than you would expect.  

Our stop for the evening was somewhere in the Dades Gorge - a very cold hotel!  Though temperatures are much lower in Canada, the inside of buildings are frigid here because they lack any sort of heating or insulation.  Too bad it was dark by the time we arrived, because the hotel's terrace probably had spectacular views of the stream located at the base of a rock face.  The hotel's basement was pretty creepy - dark, and ominous.  

The dining hall was the only place that was warm in the entire building, with a fireplace and a propane heater fired up.  We wanted to sleep in the dining hall because it was so warm, but unfortunately, had to trudge back up to our little igloo of a room.  It wasn't so bad once you were underneath the sheets and three blankets, but once you stepped out it was a shock to the system.  It was a long, cold night in the dessert!   
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