tuaregs 砂漠の人


There were 14 of us on the bus from Marrakech to Zagora across the High Atlas mountain for a day trip to Sahara desert, experiencing the other side of Morocco. There were 7 college students from Indiana. They are attending a summer school in Spain studying Spanish (language). Also a Catalan couple from Barcelona, Iranian and Swidish couple who live in Spain, two Japanese girls from Italy, and myself. So the common language was English but also we tried in Italian, Spanish, and Japanese to communicate.

Leaving Marrakech around 7 am, first one hour was exiting from the city, uninteresting sight. Then the scenery completely changed into a 4000m or 12000 ft high mountain range.

As crossing the High Atlas mountain pass, there were so many small village on the cliff. Some are abandoned old village, some are still inhabited. Often I couldn’t tell it is an old ruin or inhabited village...

The bus made few stops including fortified village and kasbah at Alt Benhaddou and Dades Valley. Each stop includes Berber dressed in their traditional cloth, trying to sell souvenir, long line for toilet (some are old style Arabic squat style and you need to give some $ to get a toilet paper from attendant), another long line for people trying to buy a bottled water. I had 1 litter bottle every 3 hours to keep my body from not dehydrating in this hot and dry land.

12 hours on the bus, more oasis and ruin passed by the view, and we finally arrived the rendezvous point with our next part of adventure, a camel ride to the dune.

Here, we all got on this big animal, big animal would raise itself but more like trying to shake you off. I have never done a camel ride but this animal is big and tall. You are basically 8 feet off the ground, trying to hand onto a camel, trying to hold onto your bag, and trying to take a photo at same time.

Initially butt hurts but our body (and camel will force us to) find a right spot where it is less painful and being able to enjoy the view. After 45 minutes camel swinging us back and forth, the scene changed from waste land to more like dune.

We arrived our tent in one hour camel ride and were being greeted by nomadic Berber people, Tuaregs, or sand people. They gave us a Berber whisky (tea), followed by very simple but tasteful dinner, Chicken Tagine. After that, we all hang around the dune, sing, and watch stars.

It is amazing to sit on the dune. There is no sound at all expect occasional ring tone. Yes 21st century Tuaregs are equipped with Toyota or Mitsubishi 4x4 and Nokia cellphone.

Otherwise, no sound, no light, just a sand dune, moon, and us.

For more photo from the scene along the trip, please
click here.
Additional photo from camel ride




バスはいくつかの場所に立ち寄り、城壁に囲まれた街、Alt Benhaddouやダデスバレーへ。停まる度に原住民のかっこうをした人がおみやげ品を売りに来て、トイレの長い列(アラブのトイレは和式に似てる、しかもトイレットペーパーが無いことが度々、ティシューを売るおじさんがそこにいるので要チップ)、ペットボトルの水を買うまた長い列。この乾燥した暑い所、3時間に1リッターの割合で給水。




一時間のラクダの後、テントに到着、ここで原住民のツアレグス、ノーバディック バーバー、もしくは「砂の民」が歓迎してくれる。ここでバーバーウイスキー(お茶)をいただき簡素ではあるが、とっても美味しい鶏のタジンの夕食。食事の後は砂漠に寝そべり、歌い、踊り、星を眺める

砂漠、感激!砂漠ではまったく音がしない。時々携帯が鳴る以外... 21世紀の砂の民はトヨタや三菱の四駆とノキアの携帯で装備。