One of the big highlights of our trip was the journey into the Sahara for an overnight stay at a camp. We had little idea of what we were getting into but there were all sorts of expectations, both big and small. We started the day from Zagora, a southern oasis. If not the date capital of earth its in the top 10 for sure. We took a walk around the oasis and got schooled on dates and date palms and had an interesting look at plots of land. We turned a corner, and found “that dude building a wall”, as Nicole said over breakfast this morning. It was really interesting and very surreal. Interesting in that he was using ancient practice to build an exterior wall outside a plot of land. Surreal because it didn’t look that much different from how my good friend Ryan has been building his house. They use forms. Just like we do. The wood is a little rougher and the supports are definitely more primitive but essentially its the same way we pour foundations at home.
There was a man standing inside the form and there were boys with buckets running back and forth with fill, handing him up the buckets, which he would empty and hand back for another run. He then tamped down the fill and sometimes laid in large rocks. Seriously, not much different from what I see at home. At all. Just the material itself is a little less advanced.
We walked on, passing many women with GIANT bundles of alfalfa on their heads. They were very adamant that no one should take their photo. Taking photos of locals in a touchy subject. We actually met a local man whose photo is included in an Insider Travel guide from the UK. No credit to him, his store, and no permission from him either. Rude. There is an urban legend that a woman was photographed in a similar manner and when her husband saw her pictures they divorced. (Its a cultural / religious thing. Very serious). So no pictures of the nice ladies.
After this we visited a little walled area and that included an active synagogue that looked more like a cave. Really old. Like …whoa. REALLY old. There is a tremendous amount of Jewish legacy still around here. The Moroccans were very sympathetic to the Jews over the years and did a lot to protect them.
From there we went to lunch and hopped on some camels. The whole camel thing was interesting. We got on the lazy looking dramaderies and prepared ourselves. They stood up, which was a little scary but fine. Camels are really cute. Their feet are soft looking and wrinkly and I couldn’t stop staring at them. Off we trotted. Three camels per camel boy. We were out walking around for about an hour. Out of the town and into the area around it. Some sand. Some trees. My camel had an itchy head and kept rubbing the bum ahead of him. Cheeky bugger. Then he decided to just head off to the right a little and rubbed right up against a tree. With me on his back. Which meant I got rubbed up against a tree. Jeeeeezzzzzz.
Thank goodness we made it back in one piece. Silly camels.