Sunday, January 16, 2005

The Fun Begins

This morning was the first overcast one. The Djamaa square had all the ambience of an empty parking lot. I walked around as all the stalls opened with their predictable merchandise (the cassette tape souk, the cheap shoes souk...).

Then it was a cab over to the bus station, although I had to walk the last 200 meters because the streets were closed for the Marrakesh marathon. I think that this was a holiday weekend.

Because the buses to Agadir were all full. I finally got a ticket on the funky eleven thirty bus, although it left at twelve...

The scenery was lame and sooned turned into a version of West Texas, although the High Atlas were still off to the left in the distance. Then we climbed up into some hills that looked for all the world like the mountains in northern New Mexico: reddish brown dirt and cliffs, and dark, dull green sparse vegetation. Then we came out of the hills, down past a few camels munching on trees, and out on the narrow coastal plain and the resort city of Agadir.

Now I don't want to have left the impression that Morocco looks and feels just like Colorado Springs. If you're the sort who thinks of Canada as weird and foreign, you will definitely think of Morocco as much more so. And there are the very occasional veiled women and the more occasional guys in a jalouba.

And I am well aware that I've breezeed through the place, and that there are many great treks to walk and many great waterfalls to behold.

But Morocco was never meant to be more than a sidebar on this trip anyway. For now the fun begins.

Actually, it's already begun. Because when I walked up to the CTM bus counter a half hour ago they told me that the next available seat was a week from tomorrow! That was kind of scary, so I walked over to the Satas bus office, where they said I could get on the bus tomorrow night.

My last shot was the Supratours place, and, Lord have mercy, I got the last seat on tonight's bus. So at 7 pm I should start an 800 mile, 20 hour journey to the south of the Western Sahara. Which is or is not part of Morocco, depending on which diplomat you talk to.

Anyhow, I've got to go eat and otherwise prepare for this. The earliest you will hear from me again will be at the end of a long and lonely road.

A Note on the Transportation of Sheep:

Yesterday, at a bus station in a town on the way to Marrakesh I was bemused to see a guy put a live, bleating, unbound sheep into the baggage compartment of an otherwise modern bus. Today I found out that that's the norm, and five sheep and goats shared my journey to Agadir.

It also turns out that, although sheep are great in herds, individually they don't much like to be led. So if you want to get them around a city you have to either hogtie them and push them in a cart or pick them up and carry them over your shoulders.

I don't know what you're supposed to do when they pee on you.


At 5:00 PM, Blogger jim said...

Yesterday, at a bus station in a town on the way to Marrakesh I was bemused to see a guy put a live, bleating, unbound sheep into the baggage compartment of an otherwise modern bus.They should put the sheep on the front of the bus like they do bikes here.

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