Thursday, 12 March 2009

Finding our way into Moroccan desert (Day 10)

Compared to the night before it was a beautiful day. The sky was crystal clear once again. Muddy streets with surprisingly deep puddles were the only reminder of yesterday's storms. We were just hoping a storm like that doesn't happen again when we are in the desert. I just can't imagine what you can do when it starts pouring down like that and you have nowhere to hide...

Even with the morning sun, Rissani didn't look any better then the night before. We agreed to try our best not to spend another night here. To do that we had to find a ride to Erg Chebbi desert, where we wanted to spend at least a couple of nights.
We were staying in Hotel Merzouga, for 150 dirhams per double room a night. I guess it was OK, but definitely nothing more then that. When we woke up we found a 15 centimeter patch of chipped paint on a pillow next to the one we were using. It simply fell off the ceiling during the night.

When we were walking across town towards a much nicer and a bit more expensive hotel Dar Lamrani (if you can afford it I really recommend it), to our surprise we weren't approached by anyone offering us some kind of a deal. The hotel manager offered us breakfast and told us that we can pay as much as we think it's worth. Since this seemed really suspicious we insisted on a price. He just smiled, wished us “bon appetite” and walked away.

When enjoying fresh breakfast a couple of European girls came out of the hotel. We tried to start a conversation but they didn't seem too interested.
We thought it would be smart to team up with more people in order to be able to negotiate a better price for a desert trip.

When the two girls returned we tried a bit more direct approach and it worked. They seemed really nice and as they told us, they were traveling together with another friend and also had a rented car.
This was just too perfect to be true.

They surprisingly agreed to take us with them and were leaving in ten minutes. We were really happy with the outcome - It just doesn't get much better then that. I quickly payed the guy 50 Dirhams for the breakfast and thanked him for kindness. It seemed he was pleased with that.

We fetched our bags from the hotel we were staying in and left for the desert. At some point we left the main road and tried to follow a rocky-desert piste.

While driving into the desert we found out we were traveling with three Swiss girls, who knew exactly which hotel by the desert to go to. One of their friends from back home was there a couple of times before and even had a romance with the owner of the Auberge LaBaraka (to locate it on Google maps click here).

There we met Hassan, who was happy to meet friends of a girl he was still in contact with. We didn't have to bargain for the price of the desert experience. He came forward with a reasonable price and he didn't want to go lower (supposedly it was the price he charged the Swiss girl he knew).

This suited us just fine and we agreed to leave for the desert that same afternoon.

The Auberge LaBaraka is a quite simple but well kept place and staff is really nice. We enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere and I took the time to take a first bunch of many sandy photos.

It was a relaxed afternoon on the edge of sand dunes, followed by a lovely sunset in the desert where we found a camping place. After dinner some Berber drumming carried us back in time. It went on long into the night until we all fell asleep.

There were tents available but we chose to sleep in our sleeping-bags under the countless stars. I can't remember the last time I saw so many.


Huzhar 13 March 2009 at 05:49  

Nice post! You tell your story in details, I can imagine being there. Good job and thanks for sharing. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my blog. Have a nice day.

Huzhar 13 March 2009 at 11:02  

Thank you for sharing with me another part of the world. Your journey in Morocco is so wonderful..

Anonymous,  14 March 2009 at 21:38  

Slike pa dobre delas! Vsaka cast!

Travel-PB 15 March 2009 at 11:50  

Thanks. There is much more still to come. Keep tuned. ;)

Hvala, se trudimo. :)
Bo pa počasi treba razmišljat tud o kaki nadgradni opreme.

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