0294. The Snow and Sand Tour (Mor 127--new)

Zeida Travel Blog

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Episode 05: The Eastern Desert

Haven't parkbenched in seven weeks now... well, OK, I pull out the ol' six string a few times around Casablanca--but haven't been anywhere new...

Now I've got a good 9 days and I'm revved up and ready to go.  And I know exactly where: The Desert

Why?   Simple.  Summer is coming, and although it's certainly possible to parkbench the desert in the summer, it is quite unpleasant--and can even borderline on torturous to be staggering around a shadeless town in 120 degree heat...

I check my map and see that "Midelt" is the next town down the road after Boulemane, so I figure I'll head east and pick up from there.  Head down to the bus station at 9 PM or so hoping to catch an overnight heading to Errachidia.

.. no luck... There are no overnights heading that way.  I'm told, however, that I can catch a bus to Meknes and another bus from there... So that's what I do.

End up in Meknes at 3:30 in the morning and have to wait a couple of hours and then finally I'm on my way to Midelt...

I pass through familiar territory--El Hajeb, Azrou... there's still snow on the ground crossing the pass to Timahdite... Then it's rustic little Berber villages in grassy treeless plains with stunning mountain views in the background.  I'm getting restless, so I finally just get off the bus when we stop in the sizeable little town of Zeida...

I hike up and down the scattering of Zeida neighborhoods, looking for the best spot to take a clip.  Finally I find a nice little pile of boulders that will do the job.  Then I head back into town and negotiate a delicious tagine down to 20 DHs...
I've noticed that Middle Atlas Berber town lack the big, fancy summer homes of Berber expats that I saw down in the Souss Berber towns and Rif towns... I wonder what the reason is... Overall, folks here seem to be much poorer than their northern and southern cousins.  I get to talking to a local fellow on this subject.   Emigration is clearly a big factor in the relative prosperity of the Souss and Rif regions--and somehow Middle Atlas folks seems to have gotten left out...

 

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photo by: nathanphil