We've embraced the 'Slow' philosophy as a way of life - what's the hurry?. Taking time to smell the roses (usually on a glass of Viognier) is more our style. Having spent more then 3 years on the road, slow travel has become a way of life. We have revised our plans completely and now focus on quality, not quantity, slowly.
As we are on the edge of the
Sahara, we thought we should do the obligatory Camel Trek. If there is a more
uncomfortable way to travel, I don’t know of it. Those damn animals should come
with an OHS warning.
The Bloody Camels
The saddles are clearly made
of concrete, cleverly disguised with a blanket for the unwary tourist. My arse
was screaming within 10 minutes, but I bravely soldiered on. The guide, who was
sensibly on foot, kept turning around and saying Ca Va? Bien? We grinned back
Ca va!! After 30 minutes of this torture, he’d call out “CaVa?” and not knowing
how to say “no, you jerk, my arse is killing me” in French, I’d groan “Ca Va!”.
Lawrence and I made the
decision that we could not possibly endure 3 hours of this torture but held on until
we got the sand dunes. “No more” we cried and dismounted with very little
dignity. We were led into a mud hut for mint tea, which cruelly had small hard
uncomfortable stools to sit on but even they felt like velvet compared to a
We walked the hour back to
the campsite with the camels looking well pleased with themselves for having
got rid of us. Large stiff gins were required.
I’m sure we’ll have a good
laugh about this one day – when the skin grows back.
The campsite however is
quite lovely. We have our own little mud brick courtyard, furnished with a
large rug and some outdoor furniture, we even have our own dog, a small puppy
who came to visit when our lunch was delivered. The home/mog delivery service
at Moroccan campsites is going to be the thing we miss most about this country.
The air here is so dry that when I put any kind of moisturiser on, my skin makes loud sucking noises. The days are still warm and sunny, getting hotter, nights are still cool.
The town, M’Hamid is a
scrappy little affair, with little to recommend it other than access to the
pre-Sahara and a Nomad Festival. We could hear the music last night but just
didn’t have the heart to leave our wine glasses and stagger into town after our
camel experience. Interestingly we could hear the distinctive haunting sound of
the didgeridoo – we might go in tonight, if they can get the power supply
Resident cute dog
This is the furthest south
that we’ll venture. We are at 29º 49.2 N and 5º 43.2 W (for the geeks) and so
far have travelled a total of 4,813 kms – which is a bit pathetic when you
consider we’ve been on the road since September 26. We did 4,500kms in 10 days
when we went out to Lake Eyre.
We’ll probably head north
tomorrow and back over the High Atlas via some interesting roads that Lawrence
has been researching. I hope my backside it up to it by then.