Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody
The plan was to catch a bus to Marrakesh, spend a couple of days there before Suky and Max flew back to the UK and we sailed for the Canaries.
One has to remember that this is not Europe, and even buying bus tickets can be taxing. Just for a start, the bus station is a 15 min taxi ride away, and then there are many different buses companies, their offices accompanied by shouting salesmen and touts. Getting tickets was facilitated by the taxi driver who very helpfully managed to find some available seats at a good price. The following morning, our helpful driver picked us up and took us to the bus. More chaos! One catch is that the buses often do not show their destination, and there are multitudes of people with all sorts of luggage, from furniture to surfboards. Eventually we found the right bus and tried to board. Too slowly actually, because we were immediately flattened by 2 ancient 4 foot tall grannies determined to get their preferred seats.
After our 9.00am bus left at around 10.30, we settled down to the journey. The countryside is arid, with some trees and crops. There is however a test for sanity concealed in the branches of some of the trees! Close scrutiny shows that rather than the usual birds in the branches, there are …. goats! They apparently crave the nuts of the argan tree, so climb up for them. As if that was not strange enough, the nuts pass through their digestive system nearly unaffected. Nearly is the point, for then the ladies of the villages gather the said nuts up for recycling, and now that the outer case has been softened ‘a la chevre’, they can access the kernel for extracting argan oil. More of this in the post on Marrakesh!
As the thankfully air-conditioned coach battles its way up the Atlas mountains, spectacular scenery is unfolded. It is as if the earth has been cleft and its inner layers have been exposed. A mere 3 hours into the journey, and we pull off into a roadside halt. Forget your service areas, this is gritty reality. I will forgoe any description of the wc’s for the benefit of those with a delicate disposition, but the hot food counter is an open brazier with black grilled former organic matter still cremating. However the hot flat breads are more appealing and tasty.
The bus then crosses the arid plains at the edge of the Sahara. There are occasional villages portraying varying degrees of wealth, but even the most basic of homes have the ubiquitous satellite tv aerial.
Some four and a half hours after we set out, the dusty bus battles its way into the very different world of Marrakesh.