Monday, November 13, 2006

Wah of the Sahara

Greetings from Fes, the intellectual, spiritual and artistic capital of Morocco (but not the ACTUAL capital... that would be Rabat)

The last few days have been an adventure with a capital A! The old saying when it rains it pours applies doubly to Morocco. This is a country that is the western most part of the Sahara (Sahara means Desert in the local tongue... like the Gobi... pretty cluey these local peoples) and is in africa and is NORMALLY pretty damn dry... of course when we come the heavens split open and dump a years worth of water on us. The flooding has been incredible in the centre and south of the country. We started our Intrepid Tour easily enough but when we started taking local buses to out of the way places (ie off the 5 tarmacced roads in Morocco) everything went pearshaped. Every bridge was washed away and every river ford was under over a metre of water! what should have taken 4 hours took 11... but fortune favours the stupid and we finally made it to the sahara. We couldnt camp in the desert due to the flooding (yep flooding IN the desert... i never knew the sahara would be filled by many massive foot deep lakes) so we had to stay in the new mud brick hotel. This didnt make me feel any better as the old mudbrick hotel had been WASHED AWAY 6 weeks ago and its soggy and sad remains could be seen sticking out of the latest paddling lake in the sahara. But sunrise over the sahara is an amazing sight and it is made that little more exciting when you realise that 50km away the soldiers of Algeria are armed and angry and watching you with binoculers :)

The Intrepid trip has been very fun and exciting. we have been using local transport and pretty much slumming it in accomodation that has barely made it to the 20th Century let alone the 21st. You are happy with a bed and amazed with magical electricity and hot showers. But all this is unimportant when compared with the sense assaulting sights of tanneries (mmm pigeon poo AND horse urine... yes please!), 10000 winding streets in a medieval medina and Girlclumsy sucking mightily on a arabic hookah pipe (apple flavoured tobacco... thats all!).

Fes has the best medina yet. 10000 streets, some so small you have to turn sideways to fit, filled to the brim with carpet makers, tanners, cloth weavers, herbalists (45-spice is your friiiiiiiend... and my signature scent is now Mhyrr. If it is good enough for the baby jesus it is good enough for me), food stalls, banzai donkeys, mosques, beggers, fruit sellers, chicken killers (you ask for THAT chicken and they cut its throat in front of you... you know it is fresh), camel meat grinders ( no, they dont kill them in front of you... as far as i have seen) and a myriad other things to see, do, duck and savour. we have also gone out to Meknes whixh was the capital for a 17th warlord called Moulay Ismail.. fun guy who used a massive black african army to slaughter his rivals and create the moroccon state. Nearby was the ancient roman city of Volubis... those romans went everywhere and sent a shiteload of olive oil back to rome from morocco.

All in all it has been an amazing week and we have two more left! the rain has stopped finally and the african sun is blasting down and the flood waters are vanishing nearly as far as they appeared.... crazy country. Some nights i lie in bed and just try and quantify everything thing i have seen that day... try and get a handle on the strangness of it all. Then you realise you just gota roll with it and let it take you where it will.

All good!

Best wishes to you all


Kath said...

You're a lucky bastard you know? I read your blog and am so envious.

The squid-hunters are all well - a bit boring without your slightly nutty (ok, not slightly - totally) emails coming through.

Brisbane Square is poised to have it's library unleashed on the city (oh it's a sexy library Greg, it sure is!) in a fortnight and LHQ is up in it's new hamster box office.

Miss ya!

The Wah said...

The SquidFinder General has many more pictures to share with the Calamari Liberation Front. This connection is not secure. Will wait until I am sure the Cephalopod Overlords do not know where i am

Anonymous said...

holidays, hot sunny resorts and flooding - are we starting to see a theme here G-Meister??...