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Loving Life as a Foreign Service Family – Current Parallel 6° 27' North- Lagos, Nigeria

Morocco Girls Trip- Merzouga and Ouarzazate

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After a long day of driving we arrived in the small city of Merzouga. I don’t know what it was but Merzouga reminded me of a college town. Hotels full of young people who were completing various treks across the desert and much of Africa. Coffee shops and kitch shops focusing on the abundance of fossils in the area. I truthfully didn’t read up enough and had no idea this was such a fossil heaven. Harrison would have loved it. The shops were pretty cool. In my dream house I would have a sink made from these fossils. Also date orchards everywhere, there are over 100 varieties grown in Morocco. Such a cool country.


This photo of Driss Fossils & Minerals Shop is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We left our cushy van and met up with a four wheeled drive vehicle which then proceeded to drive us the long way around through the desert to our camp site. Seriously this was unnecessary which we didn’t know until we got to our campsite and saw not far in the distance a paved road. It was fun none the less.

Our tents in the back ground. We found a roof of course where we ate peanuts, and olives and drank wine and mint tea while watching the sun go down.
The restaurant and hotel part of our experience. The workers don’t want to sleep in the tents every night, I don’t blame them. Le Belle Etoile I would recommend but you are just on the edge of the desert. If you have days there are excursions that take your much further into the Sahara.
We saw wild dromedary too. It was pretty cool and these guys are smart. The ride is over, the sun is going down and they just take off and find their own ways home.

Here is the nitty gritty on sleeping in tents in the Sahara, the Sahara is full of sand. LOL I know right. Everything was fine until we went to bed and the wind started. The blanket flap wouldn’t stay closed and wind and sand kept blowing into the tent. Blanket flap for a door which meant zero security from a potential intruder. Which wasn’t alarming until later in the night when we were sleep deprived. The flapping door and walls were loud and caused the light to vary in the room which woke us up continually all night long. My bed was pushed up tight against the tent causing the walls to hit me on the head when the wind blew. Ultimately in the middle up the night I finally got up and pulled the bed into the middle of the room. LeAnn was already sleeping half off the bed and was being startled awake every time the door opened and light came in. It was a miserable night of sleep. So here is the stupid thing, we had another room with a king bed further into the tent far away from the front door. We had used the space to unload all of our suitcases. What we should of done was MOVE to the big bed in the middle of the night. You make stupid decisions when you are cold, scared, startled, and sand covered. Would I do it again, probably because I am so much wiser now.

Hallways of tents
Main bedroom with me brushing my teeth. Some day I will live/travel somewhere I can brush with water form the sink. There was a toilet and shower as well. If you go shower at night the mornings are freezing.
Scarab bettle
They served us a lovely tajine dinner with accompanying music.
Our camel buddies after our excursion
You can really see how strong the wind was from the lead blowing in the wind.
What’s up, camel butt. No not camel, dromedary and we were reminded over and over.
Our guide was fab. He had gloves for LeAnn and went out of his way for us to get away from the bigger groups.
Sahara
Teaching us how to properly tie a headscarf
Red eyes, lots of blowing sand but so so happy
The fuzziness in this image is actually caused by the blowing sand
Sunrise!!!

Our guide asked us to sit on his blanket for a perspective shot. I thought he was going to walk down the hill, sand walking not so easy, and take a photo of us from below. But no, he grabbed the edge of the blanket and ran down the hill pulling us behind him.

I was so happy. I just love the desert. After breakfast we were on our way to Ourzazate. I loved all the scenery it reminded me so much of home. Todgha Gorge was lovely.

Carpet carpets everywhere!
Hauling babies and water, women’s work all over the world.
Rock climbing. I can see friends and family visiting these cliffs some day.

We arrived in Ouarzazate. We were underwhelmed with this city but it was a necessary stop in our long journey.

Graveyard
Berber villages were adorable and abundant. I can see why this area is used so often by the film industry shooting movies like Star Wars, The Gladiator 18ish other films.
Dates and ancient earthen cities were abundant
Game of Thrones anyone. We chose not to go inside.

We stayed at Dar Chomaa which was really a hotel. It was our least favorite. Although brand new it was in an industrial area with no access to grocery stores or activities. Most importantly it didn’t have a roof with great view. The pool would have to do.

Ait Benhaddou an ancient fortified city

On to Marrakesh.

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