The muezzin’s voice flooded the streets of Ouarzazate like a rising tide of rhythmic sound, shattering the cold still air of a February morning. I awoke with the sun, its bright rays seemingly powerless to combat the chill of dawn. I knew, however, that it would not last long. Temperature variations in the Sahara can encompass swings of 60 degrees Farenheit or more in a matter of hours, and unprepared travelers can suffer severe exposure if not properly equipped. Marechal Hubert Lyautey, France’s first Resident-General of Morocco once described his adopted homeland as “a cold country with a hot sun”. As I glanced ruefully at my oxide sunscreen neatly juxtaposed next to my faded travel jacket I knew he was right. I packed the last of my survival kit into my Osprey pack, layered a wool pashmina around my neck, and headed up to the roof of our tiny riad for breakfast. Nestled within the heart of the Kasbah Taorirt, it overlooked the sleeping city and the peaks of the High Atlas to the west. To the east the rising sun lit up the Draa valley like a beacon, beckoning us to follow. The air was heavy with silence and the only other souls in sight were the Captain and a large stork who had taken up residence on the minaret of the local mosque.
I hope you’re all enjoying the beautiful spring weather wherever in the world you are ( to my readers in the southern hemisphere you have my sympathies, but you’ll get your turn soon enough)!
A big thank you to Gesundheit, Suze for nominating me for the Sunshine Award! It truly is an honor to be bestowed with such an accolade! After doing a little research on the award I discovered that it is a prize to bloggers who enrich their peers in the blogosphere in rewarding and creative ways. I am very happy to receive this award and excited to spread the light around, but before I do here are some rules:
-Link back to the person who nominated you
-Post the award image to your page
-Tell seven facts about yourself
- Nominate 5-10 other blogs and let them know they are nominated
Colors are more vivid in Africa, and nowhere more so than in local industry. The small village of Tamegroute, south of Zagora on the edge of the Sahara Desert, lives and breathes pottery. Moroccan pottery is famous all over the world, and each region has its own distinctive patterns and colors. The green glazed pieces are unique to Tamegroute and are made from a combination of copper and local minerals.
I’d like to thank The Friendly Giraffe for the Liebster Blog Award and Dorothy Mcdonall and Journey Count for the Versatile Blogger Awards. Thanks for all the kind words and support! Blogging is a truly dynamic and exciting community, and I am proud to be a part of it with you.
1. Share 11 random facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you
3. Nominate 11 new bloggers and ask them 11 questions
11 Random facts about myself
- My husband says that I’m a paradox wrapped in an enigma.
- I embrace my inner child.
- I enjoy playing video games during the autumn and winter months.
- I’ve been to more places than I’ve blogged about.
- This may surprise you, but I’m older than the Captain.
- I like to read and not the stuff you might think.
- I’m a huge fan of Game of Thrones and am loving season 3 so far!
- My motto: “Fortune favors the bold.”
- I’m the daughter and granddaughter of United States veterans.
- I am the antithesis of the Asian woman stereotype. I am stubborn as hell, temperamental, and a bit of a smart ass.
- I embrace my femininity, but can rough it with the best of them.
Daggers of dark pierced the red-brown earth of the High Atlas Mountains. As the sun slowly set beneath the snowy peaks of North Africa’s highest mountains, the eastern slopes slowly succumbed to the encroaching darkness. The Captain and I had left Marrakech that morning, crossed the High Atlas, and had descended its jagged slopes via the Tizi n’ Tichka toward Ouarzazate. Travelers in this frontier town usually have one of three goals: to see the famed Atlas movie studios and the associated sets from The Mummy, Gladiator, Lawrence of Arabia, and countless others; to find a little rest and relaxation before continuing northeast to the Dades Gorges; or to find a guide for the less traveled path southeast towards the Sahara Desert. Our goal was the third.
The sun rose scarlet over the red city. As sound lags sight when one goes fast enough, so is there a lag in the desert between light and warmth. Slowly heat seeped back into the ancient stone and Marrakech once again came to life, the sunlight shimmering off the High Atlas Mountains.
It’s easy to get lost in the details while wandering the souks in Marrakech’s medina.
As we idled in the parking lot, the call to prayer drifted lazily out from the city on the hot African wind. The red brick buildings of Marrakech stood as a labyrinthine wall in the setting sun. The GPS was unable to find the hotel, and the maps with named streets and districts bore little resemblance to the solid wall of buildings, the haunting call to prayer, and the mad crush of people, motorbikes, taxis, and animals. The whole scene was impossibly foreign, visceral, and more than a little intimidating. It was if all my previous experiences in travel had been wiped out by a continent that has defied expectations since time immemorial. The land itself seemed to laugh at my preparation, my maps, my planning. As the sun set below the horizon, and the Captain put the Peugeot 206 into gear, the night sky seemed to laugh and the blur of frenzied movement blended with the muezzin into a crescendo of light and sound, excitement and fear. Welcome, the city seemed to say, to Africa.
My husband and I were ecstatic to get Business Elite on our way to Paris where we were catching a flight to Marrakech. Traveling standby can be a real pain, but when it works out it’s very pleasant.