Sun, Sand and the Desert

Trip Start Jun 08, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Sunday, April 16, 2006

Three hectic days in the Sahara were the impetus to a very lazy day in Marrakesh today, enjoying some ice cream, wandering the streets, taking photos and a bit of inane chatter. My very brief contact with the Sahara has been one of which to remember though. First and foremost I have to comment about the Moroccan towns that we went through, they are all camoflaged with the landscape and remind me of a carving in wood. It seems that each house is made out of mud brick or stucco so they all blend in so perfectly into the environment that I doubt that you would be able to see a town from the air. The earth itself is really interesting, ranging in colour from pink in select places through to mud brown, predominantly everything is a shade of orange though with the exception of river beds which are vivid green and seem to harbor numerous date palms, the contrast in places is stunning. Combined with amazing rock formations and sheer faced gorges the three day trip was well worth the effort. The sand dunes in the Sahara are worthy of individual mention, arriving after dark we rode camels through the full moon into the sand dunes to find our tents, that in itself was a particularly serene and peaceful experience. Awaking in the morning amongst the orange folds of the dunes was truly outstanding.

I have been extremely fortunate to share my experiences over the past few days with a fellow Brazilian traveller, Charles. After the desert we spent a day in Marrakesh basically catching up, taking photo's, doing washing and what not before heading north to Cassablanca. The journey was interesting, basically outer desert land sporting greenery here and there and beautiful red poppy flowers in much of the disturbed ground. The train was absolutely jam packed, but it was a nice interesting journey. Casablanca has largely seen us padding the hoof for hours on end, we have been lost, found, hot, cold, hungry and full but we have seen and seeing alot. It's a nice interesting city to roam full of stark contrast in living and living conditions. On one of our walks we made a point of going to see a beautiful old church - it had a contemporary design fair happening inside it - things aren't always what they seem! Possibly the strangest thing that I saw though - two men in wheel chairs taking up the right hand lane of the motorway whilst cars were wizzing around them!

The third largest mosque in the world (Hassan ll)sits on the water front, absolutely beautiful the mosque in itself gobbled up a well deserved few hours in itself. I was thankful to simply soak up the enironment whilst Charles focused on getting some great photo's around the mosque. Today we walked for miles out to the beach, past the mosque, past some slum area's onward bound to high society Cassablanca. I have returned looking like a beetroot where as Charles' olive skin has simply gone darker - I am a tad envious. Wearing a long sleeved, below the knee dress I was dressed fairly conservatively in Western terms today, but I was gawked at all day. None of the attention was threatening, but it was uncomfortable and out of respect I do have to make even more of an effort to fit in, tomorrow I will be in trousers.

Off to Fes next..... makes me thing of "That 70's Show", mu haha.
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