On my camel (Morocco #4)

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It is exciting, to be on an adventure. To wake up not knowing exactly where you are (just like after a wild night in London), knowing that you need to hit the road before the sun shines too bright (just like after a wild night in London, when you don’t want to be walking the walk of shame in particularly bright weather). Knowing that at the end of the day, you will be on a camel (I really do hope that “just like after a wild night in London” does not apply to you here. If it does, I’m obviously not doing it right).

Off course, we were diverted from our one true course by visiting some other villages, seeing farmers pluck weeds and what not. It was surprisingly similar to rural Romania, from the plants that they grew there to the general feeling of it all. As the tour guide went on and on about the wondrous cyclical life of village people, I got distracted by a bee.

In Morocco, everything seems to be an opportunity to sell some shit to the tourists. Not actual feces, thank goodness, but in this case hand woven carpets. “You don’t need to buy anything. Here, no pressure”, our host assured us. Then look at how the village lady does everything – which is nice, I am sure, but not really exciting nor the top of my priority list of things to do whilst on holiday. “Shame not to buy something. No pressure. But shame not to buy something”.

A short stop to the Dades Gorge (really short, probably because there was nothing for them to sell to us here), where I took the opportunity to get my feet wet in the nearby stream. There seemed to be a lot of rock climbers here, should anyone be interested. Rock-climbing, if you ask me, is a sport best practiced topless. Especially for me sitting on the ground with a zoom lens. What? I think it would be sinful not to expose those wonderfully sculpted abs.

I think when it comes to a lot of the world, we all have a slightly wrong perception of it (for example, the map of the world we use is not actually accurate. Like, by lots). I am, for once, not actually blaming people for this sort of ignorance but the media who manage to ruin our tiny, underdeveloped brains by bombarding us with the same images when talking about deserts.

I had always imagined that deserts meant sand dunes. Which is not entirely accurate (this is surreal – Wikipedia has an identical part where it says the same thing. It also blames the media). The photos beneath are also from the desert (not just the part where you see the dunes in the distance). The dune areas are generally called an “erg” here in Morocco (at the very least), our destination being Erg Chebbi.

Then, at long last, it was time for my quest of finding a camel to end! I would like to tell you that I won’t start telling you random facts about camels, but…

Did you know that their back leg has an inverted knee? As in, it fold the other way around. Also, they have these huge bellies which are full of water and…

I will try and stop. We awaited for the arrival of another group, and then we were split up in a few caravans. The camels all have special saddles made, so I wouldn’t worry about falling off of them. In fact if you learn how to just use your feet you don’t need to hold your hands on the handle (there is  a handle).

Riding camels is not fun. I know, many have seen it on TV and think oh that is wonderful. However, if you’ve ever ridden a horse you also know. Riding isn’t all fun and joy: by the end of the 1-2 hours journey, your legs will ache and you will smell of camel. The following day, before you take the journey back, the pain will have had time to fully settle in and your legs will continue to be sore.

I still think it’s totally worth it.

Also, take a lot of water with you. Some tours – such as our – did not provide water there only food. We knew this to a certain extent, but I think not everyone, at least me, thought of the sheer amount of water you actually need.

The dunes were wonderful, however. They have a unique beauty, which I hope the pictures manage to convey in part. The complete silence, as our “ships of the deserts” swiftly traveled, gives you a certain peace of mind.

Once we set camp, the top of the dune was calling to me. Little did I know, however, that climbing a dune is incredibly hard. One step forward two steps backwards hardly describes this – it’s steep, it’s tall, and the sand just keep running from under your feet. Many started with this in mind, but only a couple of us managed to get to the top (and I just mean to one of the ridges). Going down, however, was much more fun and fast. Tho all those blisters I got in Marrakech on my feet were now filled with sand.

They fed us, they even started singing some bedouin music for us, but I couldn’t care less. All I wanted was to watch the pretty night sky,with all the starts, with no clouds, in the middle of the deserts.

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