Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Four pictures today from our epic trek back from the desert. At this point your correspondent was traveling solo, with no particular agenda. Did we mention this before? Traveling without reservations or plans is really liberating and a great feeling and something we promised as naive young backpackers never to stop doing and then eventually stopped doing. Or at least, did less. I think the culprits were: 1. Latvia, because we were mostly going on three-day-weekend hops around Europe and didn't want to waste time looking for a hotel once we were there; and 2. Afghanistan, because when we were getting away from Kabul we were going to splash out having things arranged ahead of time with nicer hotels; and 3. Those nicer hotels are pretty easy to get used to.
But in Morocco, for a bit, we did it right. I would not trade away the snazzy riads we had reserved in advance, but having an unstructured portion of the trip turned out pretty well. We tried to travel in a mostly local manner, which in returning from the desert involved a series of three city-to-city grand taxi trips. These earned zero points for comfort, which is a true traveling snob's test of "authenticity." The taxis hang out at a central spot until they have enough passengers to make a city-to-city trip worthwhile, which generally means seven men packed into the bench seats of an old beat up Mercedes. Seen at top, my view from the back seat, second of four, which I quickly learned is the very worst seat in the taxi. Below that, one of these fine pieces of automotive technology from the exterior.
Above, the view from one leg where I managed to score the shotgun seat. Best moment from the trip was probably driving through desert, as above, when one of the gentlemen in my taxi asked to be let off up ahead in the middle of nowhere. He got out at some high-tension power lines, where he had tied his donkey to one of the pylons. He was, I presume, preparing his donkey for the ride the rest of the way home as our taxi sped away, quickly re-filled to seven passengers by someone on the side of the road. Below, yet another picture just for kicks, waiting for the taxi to fill to capacity in Tagounite.