Friday, June 02, 2006

I stayed at the Fibrule de Draa hotel. The interior was a bit rundown, but they did have a nice pool area and the people there were very friendly. The camel caravan did not start until 4pm the next day, so I hired a guide (only 20 dirhams for the day!) to show me around Zagora. I went to a nearby kasbah which was still inhabited. It was funny to see a family living in a mud brick house with dirt floors watching a television! Some of the corridors were so dark that I had to use my flashlight to see the way; (My guide knew the way by heart though, as he grew up here.) I ran into several children there and I was sad that I had not brought more pens to give to them. Pens, markers, notebooks, and toothbrushes (oral hygiene is very poor in Morocco) would have been good gifts. I will remember that for next time...

(photo of Zagora hallway removed)

After the kasbah, I went to see a pottery cooperative where they decorate the pottery with henna.

(photo of man making pottery removed)

I also went to a silver workshop where I did some heavy negotiating for a silver and moonstone ring that I liked and some petits cadeaux pour mes amis, earning me the nickname "la femme berbère"!

Finally it was time to go on the camel ride! It was so hot, so I bought some traditional pants (pantalons climatisé - or "air conditioned pants"- also known as MC Hammer's look circa 1989). They were much cooler than my jeans... I also had to buy a turban; it keeps the sand out of your hair and ears (and mouth if the wind starts blowing).

I have to say that the camel caravan was actually a bit disappointing. We only walked for three hours and just got outside of the town. You could still see the palm trees on the horizon and we got to the edge of the desert but didn't see the large dunes. The tents were also much less elaborate than they were at the place in Erfoud that I wanted to visit. Plus, camels are not very comfortable to ride! I could barely sit down for the next two days! On the bright side, however, I did meet a lovely young couple from London who were kind enough to share their beliefs in Islam with me. If I were to do it again though, I would have made the camel caravan a separate week long tour so that I really would have gone into the Sahara (and I would have saved myself three days of driving.)

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