|July 26 2008
Sleeping last night was a little gritty. I guess the sand from the dunes finds its way into everything, including our beds. The night was not overly hot, and there was a gently breeze to keep the air circulating. Everyone was up and moving around 6 am, or just after, because we all wanted to watch the sun come up over the dunes. I think everyone was hoping to see the actually sunrise, but we were in a depression and scaling the highest dune nearby would have been a feat. We still climbed to the top of the nearest dune and took a seat. The shadow play on the dunes is truly majestic. It took the sun a while to come over the dunes, so I walked around and snapped group pictures for everyone. The sun crested the dune directly in front of us, and everyone was peacefully quite.
That ended when we raced down the dune. It is a lot of fun to go zooming down a big pile of sand. Joseph found a sand board and took it to the top of the dune. He went down successfully to the applause of the group. The guide directed him to another larger sand dune and he was able to get one ride in before we had to mount the camels. The camel ride back was much more quit and no one was snapping photos. We had all seen this on the way in, and everyone was just enjoying the peacefulness of the dunes.
One of our guides tried to dig up a sand fish, but had no luck. Joseph was looking for the tracks from that point on, and really wanted them to find one. However, after a couple failed attempts they gave up. When we got back to camp everyone happily dismounted their camels and strolled inside the Kasbah. Bob, Joseph, and I peeled off to our room to grab a quick rinsing shower before breakfast.
While Joseph was showering I went to check on breakfast. The rest of the group was sitting around the tables waiting for food. We had another table added at the end for the three of us. I put in an order for melon for Bob, but they did not have any in the kitchen. I went back to let Bob know that I had ordered his coffee and there was no melon. I headed back to the tables with pen and pad in hand to get everyone’s e-mail, since I was unable to share pictures with them the night before. I promised to send everyone pictures and the link to the trip website.
Breakfast was our typical menu and not a lot of people ate too much. Joseph thinks riding camels is a good way to lose weight because you lose your appetite. A new diet fad may begin :-) Once we were done with breakfast we said our goodbyes and headed to the room to grab our bags for the car. Although nothing new has been added to the car, the lack of will to pack everything tightly has caused our luggage to take more room. Our trek across the track tar road is much less bumpy then the first time we crossed it. This could be because I didn’t mind getting of the dug outs and riding more on the berm of the road.
Our drive back was very similar to our drive down until we reached Errichidia. This is the spot where we joined back up with the main road. On our trip to Meknes we were taking the thru way to cut down on time. What was nice was the trip through the High Atlas. The valleys before the mountains were filled with farms and ranches. Joseph saw more dogs on this stretch then we had seen in our entire trip. This could be because of the number of goats and sheep who graze in the valley. The farms were mainly wheat farms.
As we climbed into the mountains Bob was wondering where all these logging trucks could have gotten such mature trees. Then we entered into an old growth forrest, obviously a popular spot, because people were sitted beneath trees along most of the road. We ran across a lookout and pulled a U-turn to get some pictures. The day was not exceptionally clear, but the haze was pretty far away and we got some nice pictures.
When we reached Meknes we fueled up the car. The gas station attendant spoke very typical American accent English. I talked to him for a few minutes and found out that he taught himself English and that his girlfriend was in college at FSU. She was going to college there. I told him that my plans were to learn a little Arabic for this trip but I ended up just falling back on my limited French. He said he does not like French. The whole point of that aside is to let people know there are others who do not like French. Bob and Joseph got their requisite sodas before we got back in the car. Coke for Joseph, Fanta Orange for Bob.
Locating the hotel was fun. We parked the car on the street and then just walked around. We did not bother looking at Frommers or trying to pick a place from one of our many books. The first place we looked at was cheap, but we would have split up into 2 rooms. Bob wanted to look around some more, and we explored a couple more hotels. None of them had a room with three beds, until we happened upon the Majestic. We booked a room at the majestic and then discovered it was listed in Frommers.
During our walk for the hotel room, Joseph spied a café that had whole rotisserie chickens. We thought this would be a good place to get dinner. The food was hot, the meal was cheap, and our bellies were full. On the walk back to the Majestic we grabbed some ice cream. I took some time at the Majestic to catch up on journaling and Bob took some time to freshen up. Joseph searched Frommers for Cyber cafes and mapped there location. In an hour we were back on the street walking to the nearest cyber café. Bob had hoped for a café with the internet place, but it was simply computers. We tried to find one with an actually café, but struck out. Eventually we returned to the original cyber bar.
It took me a little bit of time to adjust to the French and Arabic keyboard. This slowed down the pasting of our journal entry and the pictures. The speed of the connection slowed us down even more. After 20 minutes we were finished and escaped from our basement lounge. Right around the corner was a café. We ordered coffee, and relaxed for a bit. Plans for sights seeing the following day, as well as the route to Rabat was finalized before we walked back to the Hotel. Once back in the room, everyone was exhausted and it took only a few minutes for all of us to be flat on our backs in bed dozing.