I have been considering not posting a travel blog about Morocco. It seems not linked with visiting Missouri. This is wrong, because it was one of the travels I went on with my girlfriend that lives in Missouri. That’s right, I just gave you a weird reason. Also, if ‘How I met your mother’ can ramble on for several seasons without closure, I can include a little side trip in my blog. It’s a travel blog in its most intense form. I hope you can enjoy my little side trip and I promise you: Friday will be an ordinary Friday and there’s only two parts. For now, I present to you: part I of II.
The landing wasn’t too comfortable. Neither were the 30 minutes leading up to it. Instead of an applause, solid ground was greeted with a traditional ‘shalalalalala’, confirming once more: we hit African soil. We were picked up at the airport and after arranging the rental car headed for our hostel. The taxi ride there was a good first impression: mosques, sand and people playing football on bare feet. The streets were filled with people. Pedestrians, cyclists, mopeds and cars blending into an ant farm. The last 15 minutes we walked through the old, alley-like streets of old Marrakesh. Like a maze, every alley looked alike and every one of them was filled with people and mopeds making their way through.
After checking in, we decided to go out with our newly-met roommates to the main square and have dinner. It was crazy on the square. People were selling all sorts of things, showing tricks and the middle of the square consisted of about a 100 places, all providing picnic tables and the same menu. Most obvious however were the guys luring us in. You couldn’t walk two feet without having someone jump in front of you, showing their menu or explaining their excellent prices. As we were with a group of six, a minimum of three people would be convincing us to sit at their table. There was just no way of shaking them off. A lot of times speaking Dutch is a great way to get rid of people, but they just switched to Dutch as well. We picked a place to have dinner and sat down as the square made us use all five senses to the max.
The next day we rose early to drive to a Sahara desert town, where we’d hop on a camel for a desert camping trip. A nine hour drive with A. being the only driver. The trip can be divided into three stages: Marrakesh, mountains, desert. The first part was pretty tricky, for A. had to get used to the car (and manual shifting) driving through Marrakesh. Remember the ant farm? Without really any problems, we drove into the mountains. This was a good time for her to confess she had never really driven in mountains before. Being an excellent driver, she got the hang of it pretty soon and swooping through the corners we conquered the beautiful mountains.
When we saw the rental car we didn’t realize this, but our blue Fiat Punto was pretty uncommon. It was like driving a car with a flashing neon sign saying ‘tourists’. The effect was like driving an ice cream truck past a playground. At every corner people were waving us to stop, showing their rocks to sell or claiming to have a problem with their car. Sometimes it felt unnatural to drive past them, but even in the desert there was a fair amount of traffic and seeing the impact our car had on people, it was highly unlikely two cars broke down 100 yards in front of us and couldn’t do without our help.