So from my short lived desert drive I had no choice but to head back to Zagora. A short while into the journey I saw a hitch hiker. He looked European, I stopped and picked him up. He was a German lad about 20years old, having taken a year out of college he was off to see the world and after just 6 weeks had done France, Spain, Portugal and now Morocco. He was impressed to be in a right hand drive car in a left hand drive country. He was really interested in my story and I in his. He asked “People give cars names in England, does your car have a name?” “Oh yes Dubless Ba……” I stopped, thinking it best not to mention the war! “Oh Douglas, isn’t it usual to be a girls name?” Great now he thinks I’m gay. “It’s a German car” I said trying to save the conversation. Anyway my companion for the journey was headed to South America next, hoping to get a working passage on a ship to Brazil and then hike to Chilli and Peru. I dropped him in Zagora and we wished each other a safe onwards journey.
For my part I was headed across the desert highway. A ferociously straight road cutting a path between mountains and desert. It was getting hot, like 37 degrees hot. Dubless was coping well, but it was reported to be reaching 41 before the day was out. I had nothing to do but drive for endless miles trying to contemplate the enormity of this country and its geographic marvels. The monochrome mountains with defined lines from the earths pressure forcing them skyward and then the natural erosion that shapes them over millions of years. Man it was hot, with no shade to rest the car in I kept going until hunger got the better of me. I stopped in a tiny town with a cafe, parking, as directed in the shade of the only tree, in the middle of a roundabout. The waiter, chef, owner, builder, washer up’er asked what I would like. There was no menu and he recommended the only dish of cous cous. Ok that’s the one for me. In due course a huge plate of cous cous topped with many soggy non descript vegetables arrived. It was now a race between me and the flies to eat. Like a game of reverse ‘Whakamole’, I had to jab the fork anywhere there wasn’t a fly and hope there hadn’t been one there before. Cous cous, as a meal is very filling and washing it down with water makes you quite bloated, quite quickly. I thanked my man and paid him the £3 he wanted. That’s with a tip! He was also the car park attendant and showed me back onto the trafficless road. I had more time to think as I drove and I wondered what the youth of poorer Morocco wanted from life? They all have mobiles and some internet access. Do they long for a better life in the western world or are they happy to tend livestock, walking the herd miles every day so they can feed on scraps of shrubs at the roadside? Morocco is beautiful but it’s a harsh baron beauty that I was at home with, for now, but how long would it hold my attention if I had to work endlessly just to put a meal on the table and a second hand shirt on my back, I didn’t know.
I decided to head for Akka a reasonable sized town which should have a hotel. The town before was small and well kept so my hopes were high as I travelled through the next deshevilled village, however as I left I saw that had been Akka. I returned and asked for a hotel but they didn’t have one and clearly the Berber hospitality hadn’t reached this far yet, so I continued onwards. It was at least two hours to Guelmim but that’s where I was headed. The sun set and again I was driving unlit roads with Dubless and his impaired lights shinning the wrong way. Two cars passed in the other direction one had lights which was a bonus. Then the roadworks started. It’s fine because running at the side of this highway is a dirt track and so they direct you onto this, but this time that track went on for ten miles. Dust blew everywhere the heat still radiating from the earth made the whole thing pretty rotten. The only accompanying noise being Dublesses knocking joint. I was tired long before Guelmim and saw lights of a town to the left. Turbo g off I saw another hitch hiker, only this time local. He needed a lift and I needed a hotel, a win win surely. Error no, he speaks no English or French. Dropping him off I saw another guy and in my best French asked if he knew of a hotel, “do you speak French?” A little he says, so I try again to which he asks if I speak English! And for some reason I say “Yes a little” with a French accent, I’ve been in the sun too long. I needed an oasis and this guy directed me to one.
Within 3 miles I turned onto a gravel track leading to Borj Biramane a hotel like no other. It was fantastic, laid out with different shape and size rooms in a large expanse of land all linked by footpaths to a central reception, it was a delight to walk the grounds and see little covered rest areas and dinning tables under tent type covers. Very chic bebowin I would say. But I needed sleep and for £35 I had a double room with air conditioning.