0247. The Saharan Capital (Mor 095--Revisit)

Laayoune Travel Blog

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It's the first time I've traveled this stretch in the day time--not a whole lot to see except wasteland and one or two sea inlet that we cross... Finally, in the late afternoon, we reach El Ayoun.

Now the first flashback of the year:

April 1997,  I came down to El Ayoun from Agadir with a friend who knew some people down there.  After a year discovering Arab and Berber Morocco, this was a fascinating opportunity to discover Saharawi Morocco with it’s very clear cultural distinctions. I still have fond memories of sitting on the floor in people's homes--or in tents they set up on their roofs--from morning until night, chugging on glass of supersweetened tea after another like some sort of hopelessly addicted teaholics... But no, that's just a normal day in Saharawi culture.

.. I remember the LONG greeting ritual they would go through whenever they ran into a friend on the street and learning about the complexities of their wedding rituals and traditions—an amazing time

Saharawis are extremely hospitable--among themselves... A Saharawi crossing the desert can just "drop by" into a stranger's tent and be treated like royalty.  They are, however, a bit chilly towards outsiders.  That made that experience back in 97 particularly special... Haven't had that same experience in the Sahara since...

Today will just be a relaxing walk down memory lane... Past the UN Moroccan Sahara mission headquarters (what the hell do those guys DO all day?)... up to the big central plaza... out to where you get a great view of the neighborhoods to the west and the sand dunes beyond.

..

Pass the Supratours station and figure I should go ahead and book my ticket to Dakhla... only to find that the tickets are sold out... I hurry off to the other stations with a sinking feeling... No luck... Now I've got a dilemma... I'm already way behind schedule, and if I lose another day... Damn... I just don't know that I can do it--especially with the concern that there might be the same ticket shortage on the way up... I'll have to cut my trip ANOTHER day short just to play it safe...

After that thrill of my last minute escape to Subsaharan Africa, I've now hit a brick wall.

Anyways, I've still got El Ayoun to parkbench.  So I find a cheerful park plaza and play my songs as the sun sets behind me... then I continue on, get myself a good meal of grilled chicken...

There is one sliver of hope... There might be, just MIGHT be an overnight grand taxi to Dakhla... even though I've never heard of an overnight taxi before... I slowly wander through town, making my way towards the grand taxi station...

The taxi station was looking dark and quite empty... I crossed my fingers and... "Kayn shee taxi ghadee Dakhla?"

"Kain"

That was the best "Kain" I've heard in a long time...

 

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Laayoune
photo by: nathanphil