Day 12 : TREK (Zagora)

Yesterday's scenery as well as some of today's is brought to you by The Draa Valley. A desert plateau beyond the hills of black rock and steep canyons. Flat and desolate, rocky and dead....yet beautiful in its own right. The towns are unassuming - which are convenient for short stops, but Zagora is the most convenient base for exploring the region. It is the arid barren area between jagged mountains and dunes. It is where we are spending the night before we hit the Sahara.


Directionally challenged. This is all we have. Not sure what any of this means.
Obsessed with donkeys too I guess. Wanting a mini goat with fluffy pantaloons, I'd like a cute donkey too. Poor Brian is now the proud owner of over 100 donkey pictures from this trip. I call this one "Majestic Donkey of the LowLand Desert". It has a nice ring to it.
Shopping... All alone, stands this little shop. In the middle of nowhere, next to a lone house. The daughter of the house makes little dolls and necklaces. So of course, we stop.
Hurry before we burst into flames...Brian calls these "Monkey Arm shots" due to my ridiculously long arms I can take an outstanding self portrait and it looks like we are 5 feet away from the camera.
More clenching. Ok. Who was dumb enough to think that the driving would settle down after the mountain passes were behind us? Me that's who. Now we just UP the speed to 145KPH (That's 90MPH) on a dirt road.....
Changing landscapes. Just one of the many beautiful landscape changes we got to see.
Creepy Doll. Of all the options I had, this is what I bought. And Brian is super creeped out by it. I'm going to put it under his pillow tonight.
Mmmmmm yogurt drink. More sugary beverages. This one is Avacado and Almond flavor.

Well after potentially pushing goiter-bubble tire to its limit, we made a pit stop to get the car looked at, and a new spare -(good call).  Brian and I laid around in the shade for an hour before poking around town a bit. We also hung out in the Repair Shop with Peter and his Moroccan gear-head buddies. That proved to be more entertaining than expected.


Pulling into Town. ...Tell you what - if this were a self-drive I'd have been freaked out a little... haha.
Garage tea????? We Decided to get the tire looked at. Garage tea?????, yup, mint tea is everywhere, every time. They even have a cute little tea set.
A Lady in town in a Burka.
Exploring town and checking things out while the Car gets a once-over. Make sure you check out that tire - 'ey guys?!
Idiots.... Here is a hilarious series of pictures that must have been taken as we were trying to air-compressor the sand out of our lens at the garage. Hahahaha we saw these on the camera later and died laughing. I didn't even post them all.

OMG..tooo funny From mel, on Oct 1, 2013 at 03:21AM

Brian loves boy cars. and there are Loads of cool off-road trucks here.
Snack photos. We, for some reason, always try chips when we travel. No crazy flavor here like others we have tried...they were ...ok. Hot pepper flavor, but tasted like bland BBQ. We could do a whole series called weird chip favors of the world.

After the tire was "fixed"  (a hand sewn patch) we left to explore around some more.  At days end,  we rolled into a lodge called "Take your time"-  A funky little place with some really great food.  Peter, so kindly, packed us a cooler with a few beers to enjoy along the way. Here in Islamic country, you can't just roll up and order a beer whenever you like (anywhere actually) so you're better to bring your own.  Also, we were  asked to keep it in our not to flaunt it out right either.


"Take your Time" Casbah. Located on the edge of the Sahara Desert.
"Take your Time" . Each little hut has "Take Your Time" written on it in another language. A night its all decked out in colorful christmas lights and reggae music.
Funny cars. Flash backs of "Romancing the Stone" which yet again, Peter says, "Oh, that was filmed here too".
Our Room. This looks cute and quaint right now....but later.......

Meanwhile in the middle of the night.... (Scratch, scratch, scratch...) (Scratch, scratch, scratch)....

Now, I can sleep just about anywhere, Brian even more so. But I have issues with things that scurry. And when I hear (scratch, scratch, scratch) very close to my ear in the blackness of night ...Panic sets in.  It woke me up so I laid there straining to hear what it was and, more importantly, where it was coming from. It had a weird echoing sound to it. Inside my head, "Hmmmmm. That sounds close. Hmmmm".  

We are approaching panic. I grabbed my handy head lamp, sat up in bed and shined it all over the wall focusing on the region behind our heads. (Meanwhile Brian is sleeping like a little baby).  As I shine the tiny light beam near my bedside table, I see couple a sizable dark dots dart away...I have no idea which direction I am so freaked out. "BRIAN! BRIAN! Wake UP. There's something in here!!!"  (Bri = not happy). Finally he gets up, turns on the light, goes into the bathroom and says "HOLY ****, that was the biggest la Cuca-Racha I have ever seen"!

 WTF...THAT is what was on the night stand  They were in the beer cans! (Hold on a second while I itch all over my body from the memory). Needless to say the beer cans went outside and the light was left on for the rest of the night.

The culprit of la Cucca-rachas. Note to self for future travel... clean out any beer cans from room especially if they are right next to the side of the bed Marisha sleeps on. ...(see how close it was to my head?!)

... Very tired this morning.  Today we hit the dunes which did not disappoint. Now most of the Sahara desert fills Algeria, but Morocco has its fare share. And honestly, it's quite intimidating to think how far it spans and how amazing it is that people survive in it. It's larger than the United States. Hot hot and what is.   We were lucky enough to hit it on the tail end of a sand storm and the only cloudy day in months.  We even had rare rain sprinkles.  It hit 54 degrees C (130 F) the day before and 44 C (110 F) for us in the Sahara. So we feel... lucky?

The best part of this excursion was the many Oases. Their existance depends on rivers that flow down from the Anti-Atlas mountains or an underground water table. Most Oases are strung out in a line because channels (called khettaras) which are built to control the flow of the water.
Peter's driving, Brian's excitement and my clenching have been brought to a whole new level. At one point I actually got out of the car - no make that two points.  And I have only done that once before in my entire life (Woody, OO, Watt's do you remember Bridal Vail Falls? and I even took the dig with me on that one).    This was worse.   Hopefully the pictures and videos do it justice.

Camel Corral. Many desert tours leave from Zagura, so as we leave town, we stopped to check out some camels .. now we are telling Camel how lucky he is not to be stuck as a tourist ride. He really has no idea how lucky he is.
Commuting with camels. Gridlock headed out of town.
Brian and I scored a new ride.
Oh Crap. Not even 5 minutes in and we get stuck.
Pucker up Butter-Cup!
Oasis pitstop. The really awesome thing about traveling with someone like Peter is he stops anyplace. Here we stopped to share our lunch of bread, cheese and melon with a herder and his grandson.
Approaching the Sahara.
Dig Peter, Dig....Did we say how damg hot it is? yet again weather is on our side. Yes, its hot, but no sun today!
The Sahara Desert. It is amazing how huge it is and this is only 1/100th of it. Some of the dunes get higher than a 10 story building.
The Sahara Desert. You can hike around forever but the scenery doesn't change much.
The Sahara Desert. Its nice to have someone else along to take pics with both of us in it now and again. Thanks Peter! Again, you can see the scale of the dunes.

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