Sunday, May 27, 2012

Morocco 27

We went to the Sahara. It was wonderful. We took the bus from Marrakesh to the town M'Hamid, which is a town of maybe a few thousand people, literally where the road ends. You can walk to the end of it as it just disappears into the desert. Your correspondent arrived at almost midnight with no hotel reservations and no plans on how to get to the desert from there - and everything worked out great. We haven't pulled off something like that in years, since the days when we were backpacking in Chile or Central Europe and it seemed more authentic and cheaper to not have reservations anywhere. I don't know if it's authentic or cheap, but the feeling of freedom is pretty hard to top. At least, as long as you don't get shut out and wind up sleeping on the street.

The sign above, is a replica of one that used to stand in Zagora, and read "Timboctou, 52 Jours," because apparently it was exactly 52 days by camel caravan across the Sahara to the trading networks of sub-Saharan Africa. And apparently, someone did the math and two of those days got you from Zagora to where M'Hamid stands today, a couple hours trip down the sealed road. We decided to leave it for another vacation to complete the full 50-day journey across the Sahara (which is probably no longer even possible for normal people due to border tensions in the region). But we did spend two nights out in the dunes, and will show you some pictures to prove it over the next several days.

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