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.
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.
OMG..tooo funny From, on Oct 1, 2013 at 03:21AM
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 room....best not to flaunt it out right either.
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 right...near...my...head? 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.
... 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 hot....is 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.