Day 10 : TREK (Knob)

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.

A little road signage along the way headed down from the mountains. Besides a GPS and a gut feeling, this is what we have to work with on our little adventure drive. Lets hope we don't get one of the 4 rains a year they get here.


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 .....)!

This did not happen to us...


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.


Mountain cave homes See, most people don't even get to see that these even exist here. Mostly used by herders, these cave houses are scattered all over the mountains. In some areas of Morocco, in Some areas they are full scale homes still in use.
Clenching... Did I say Peter's driving makes me nervous?, I totally trust the guy. Its weird...but the "Clench" factor is off the charts. We tried to get a few videos to really capture the thrill of it all.

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.

The Kasbah. My little slice of heaven. This is pretty typical for a Kasbah. Each one has a house similar to this, a space for the animals at night, usually the ground floor of the house, and a garden/orchard within the walls.
Bling..... The blingin' shower head. Like a queen of the Sahara I tell you.
Breakfast. They sometimes have evening entertainment out here during the high season. Fortunately and unfortunately we always travel in the low season to have places all to ourselves....yet we get no "show".
Breakfast. Naan, Crepes, cheese and more damn bread. With my gluten issues and all the bread, I look like I have been floating in a river for a week.
Wash your hands. My little Germ-o-phobe really appreciates a good hand wash station.
Our room. A sweet room...finally! Geoff, sometimes we do get a little cush!
The living room at the Kasbah. Again, all to ourselves. Do you think Morocco's version of the Bachelorette will be on later?
Breakfast with the Cowles. Bri, enjoying his mint green tea. He has learned to order it without the sugar - although it still comes with sugar, just not sugar on the side. ...that makes Peter sad.
For Sara. Hibiscus flowers are soooo pretty.

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.

Que the Sand storm! on top of a ridge, we see the sand storm - this may put a damper on our sight seeing. At least the breeze will dampen the blow of the 130 degree temps.
Free Range Camels.... Now this is how I want to see a camel. We considered doing the "camel ride thru the dessert" thing again. And once we reach the Sahara - tempting... But we have new a no-animals for tourism rule (this excludes Brian's wish to ride an Ostrich).
I Want one! See.... Poor Brian had to hear all about how me owning a mini goat is a GOOD idea.
How do you say "Timmy" in Arabic? this is how you get water kids if you live in the dessert in Morocco. Everytime you take a bath or drink a glass of water - say thank you.
Brian looks like a war reporter in this shot. Back on the road. Cruising through some of these towns, it feels like freakin Lebanon post shoot out. They did film Black Hawk down here too..... Now every movie we see that is suppose to take place in the Middle East we KNOW is really Morocco.
Approaching Sand Storm... boy.... for the next half a day, no photos really came out - and our camera took a ding with some sand in the lens.
Camel's peeps. We had to have a talk with Camel that even though he can run free out here, no one will love him like we can and he is now actually our property and he really has no choice anyway - so start boning up on your English.
Well, well....Headed out to check out a functioning well that is used by villagers...although they have to walk miles to get here.
Intestine Kabobs..... for lunch? the goat head incident? Like I said before, when you roll into these little towns for lunch, you sit down and they serve you something - whatever they have. A few times it was what the family was planning on having. Super weird to take someones food right from their mouths. They insist. I guess the cash is better ???
This says"stop". I guess everyone in the world CAN agree on something.

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