Passing Kasbahs
and Palmeries
En Route To
Hanging with a camel near a palmery.
September 10, 2007

I have to admit to having an absolute fear of buses these days. Especially when I was already told that I should not even
consider taking anything other than the CTM bus. And now I would have to be taking a local bus…overnight…for more than 14

As I said…I was scared.

So I pulled out the princess card last night.

I inquired about hiring a driver. He said it was expensive. I asked how much. He said 1700 dirham. I said 1500 dirham. We
settled on 1550 dirham.

And I now had a driver for Marrakech.

In all honesty, the other bus ride would have cost me 300 dirham (150 for the taxi and another 150 for the bus) so I was
only spending an extra 1250 dirhams. Worth every single dirham in my mind as all panic officially subsided and I was actually
looking forward to the drive. After all, now I had the chance to see the Moroccan countryside.

To make things even better, Beatrice was sitting with me as all of this was going down. Se heard I would be passing through
the Todra Gorge. She wanted to go to the Todra Gorge. She asked if she could come along.
Of course she could come along!
This was wonderful as I was given four hours of companionship. She was the perfect person to hang out with in a car.

We passed through Kasbahs and palmeries – all looked too perfect to be real…but they were! Seeing these sights alone made it
worth the extra money I was paying.

We got to the Todra Gorge. It left something to be desired. We got out of the car, walked to the other end then looked at each
other and both said “Is this
it?” I guess I can say the highlight was being able to use the clean bathroom at the touristy hotel
tucked in the gorge. However, if a person was on the look-out for tacky souvenirs, they might not be disappointed by this place.

It was time to drop Beatrice off. Now it was just me and the driver.

I used this opportunity to lay my legs over the entire seat, finish my book and listen to my ipod.

We passed through a valley of roses. My driver told me they send their roses to France for perfume to be made. At first I was
hoping that France didn’t need to currently make a lot of rose-based perfume as I did not see anything resembling a rose
anywhere in sight. But then we came across a field of rose bushes.

We drove through Ourzazate which houses a movie studio – it’s sort of like the Moroccan form of Hollywood. Scenes from
movies like Babel and Lawrence of Arabia have been filmed here. People will be very quick to tell you that Brad Pitt was here.

Then came the time for our taxi to straddle the Atlas Mountains – nothing but narrow lanes of switchbacks. I thought my life
could possibly end on this mountain. I wanted to not look but for some reason I am a glutton for punishment and insisted on
keeping my eyes peeled. I guess I was thinking two sets of eyes were better than one? Plus it wasn’t reassuring watching my
driver opening his window to get some air in order to wake himself up. I even said a little prayer to myself to please just let me
get to Marrakech.

The prayer worked and we arrived in Marrakech. Of course I was reservation-less and every place I contacted prior to
arriving was booked solid. But I walked around and found a place.

And right now I am just sitting here comfy and cozy after a hot shower thinking that I would have still had 12 hours of hell left
if I had opted to take the bus. I would say this was $150 very well spent.
Back to Morocco.
Passing through a palmery.
Leaving the dunes of Merzouga.