Boumalne Dades to Ait Ben Haddou | October 24 | 141 Miles |
With more than 12 hours sleep, I started out feeling pretty good today, happily. Although had I been paying attention to the provided guidebook I would have realized that this morning’s ride was another loop ride, up into another nearby canyon and back to the hotel for lunch. I could have slept more! Or caught up on the backlog of stories I had to write. But I was already packed up, loaded onto the bike and dressed for the falling rain so I went with the program, for which I am glad now.
With only a few things I _really_ wanted to bring home from Morocco, a photograph of the road used in a recent US Cadillac commercial was one of them… a set of tight switchbacks, viewed from above and covered in Harley-Davidsons… photographers are weird, I know. Believe me. Anyway, I got the shot after piloting through scores of children on foot, and slick pavement under my wheels. It was a shorter side loop today, with a group stop at the top overlook for coffee and a little goofiness on the swingset.
Back in town, we pick another street side joint for lunch, a place where the guide actually stayed the night on his pre-ride… a FAR different place from where we stayed last night and visible from the other… the dichotomy in Morocco will forever amazing me I think.
Lunch today was another favor, meatball tajine, go figure! The Chief (guide Andreas) gets his own omelet named after him as well. And the young waiter with the best english I’ve heard yet in Morocco tells me he likes my HU t-shirt, which reads “The only borders are those in your mind.” I should have taken a photo together for HUBB, not always thinking. ;(
The rest of the day, and the majority of the miles was spent swapping stops and the road with the Rotel Touring bus and trailer… a rolling hotel like nothing I’ve seen before. I’d like to check it out actually… everything with you at all times, although I wouldn’t be able to stop everywhere I wanted, but I might get some serious thinking and writing done along the way, like on a train.
Circling into Ait Ben Haddou we make a few photos stops to let the van get ahead of us and to see where we are going. Of course, people come out of the ground to sell us something no matter where we stop… one of them even had a bag of snakes for us to pose with! The last place was right here in town, by the river and what appears to be the old medina on the hill. We didn’t go into it, not knowing how much time we had for the stop, so we snapped a few and walked back to the bike, shopping along the way. This is where Cole corrects his math and still holds out for a hard bargain on scarves. Sealing the deal, he manages to get the 13 scarves he wanted for 300 dirham… much better than the commonplace 50 to 90 dirham price for each… way to go Cole! It was both a pleasure and a hoot watching you muscle these guys. Although 13 scarves for 13 dirhams is a WAY better deal!
Tonight’s hotel is swank. In the states, they would call this place The Standard… acrylic bar furniture missed with berber carpets and mud walls. A well deserved sunset beer on the roof starts the evening off right… too bad the pool-side musician is playing bad, bad, bad American pop hits.. I want native music, please no Green Day! 🙂