Days three and four were transition days and have been pretty great. Again, we have no idea what to expect along the way. We have covered more varieties of landscape than we ever thought could exist in one geographical region.
Still in the High Atlas we drove through some more remote mountain villages and noticed a small but very disturbing similarity about many of the towns people. How can we say this without sounding really un-PC. Well.... I'll just say exactly what we said at the time. I believe we used the phrase : "I'm feeling a little -Hills have eyes-vibe going on up here." For those of you that have never seen the movie, let us explain the Hills have Eyes reference.
Synopses: a group of traveling people are terrorized and stalked by a band of psychotic and mutated desert people.
Well, we were not stalked and we were not terrorized (except maybe for maybe Peter's mountain pass hairpin curves at 90 KPH). But, in some of the village drive-thru's, one far-out-there village in particular, everyone looked the same. And we don't mean same hair and skin color and styles of dress.....we're talkin' THE. SAME. Complete with exaggerated features. They just stood there and stared at us with their mouths slightly agape. The towns we eerily quiet for the middle of the day. Driving into these villages is a slow process so it was extra creepy in slow motion. Super heeby-jeeby vibe really! So when we used that hills-have-eyes reference to Peter he says, "Oh, yes, that movie was filmed here". (Aaaaaahhhhhh what-the .....)!
Peter proceeded to explain why the people in some villages were on the extreme edge of this. Most Berber tribes keep money and land wealth within the family. So, naturally, they marry within the family, (Consanguineous marriages), therefore, all stays in the family. 25-30% of all marriages are to first cousins....and wha-la we have generations of inbreeding. Hence super creep fest. There aren't any pictures of this for obvious reasons and you just don't photograph that sort of thing. ... at the time you just think....(silence...) then ...(shivers)...
At the end of a long day of descending the mountains, we got to see some really amazing scenery. We stopped to explore a lot which was a nice break from sitting. And even though we had to leave the comfort of the air-conditioned car for extreme heat - it was a nice break from the scary hell-drive I endured from Peter's heavy foot.
We were treated to a night at a Kasbah - and we rocked it. A Kasbah traditionally is a fortified Palace home in Northern Africa. The Kasbah usually fulfilled the role of refuge from attack and cold for people and animals where no other options were available. This one, now a fully functioning hotel (Baha Baha), was a dreamy escape from the reality that surrounded us. We had a fantastic dinner of Tagine (a clay pot cooked stew) and swam in the pool. Huuuge after a day of sweltering desert heat (54C = 129F). It took both Peter and Brian to pull me off the door jamb to leave this morning. hehe.
From the Roof of our Casbah. This gives you a great idea of the landscape. Desert, rocks, dirt,mountains .... really beautiful when you have a splash of green thrown in.
So at the end of a wonderful stop complete with amazing dinner, cold pool and a hot shower we hit the road yet again. We shall see what today holds... so far so good on this trip. It doesn't disappoint. We made our way down the mountains after a few days up there and drove into the valley floor filled with desert, oasis and dry river beds - The Draa Valley. The Dra Valley is a desert plateau that leads to to the Sahara. And little did we know, we were about to embark on a journey to attempt to break our land speed record with our guide Peter and a Land Cruiser. The desert plateau, by the way, is very cool because there is nothing as far as the eye can see. Rocky, barren, moon-like.