Dan was awake at 5:45 and had the pleasure of waking up Eitan at 6:15. Eitan is not a morning person, but he couldn’t resist taking a quick look at the sunrise.
Captain Fomo was very close to almost being alive as they trudged up the dunes to experience sunrise in the Sahara.
Dan was enthralled, the “Lawrence of Arabia” score swirling in his head and director David Lean motivating his shutter finger.
Eitan returned to his alluring bed as Dan roamed the pink-sand dunes, one of those thrilling walks that builds rather than dissipates energy.
Eitan was somewhat rejuvenated from his morning nap. He went sand boarding – a snowboard down the dunes – and then we all had breakfast. It was more difficult than it looks!!
Elly and Sarah took the jeep back, while Eitan and Dan rode their trusty camels, along with a Sudanese girl who was probably riding one for the first time and a boy who walked with Youssef.
We said good bye to our camp!
The ride was a real highlight of this or any other trip. In the still early-morning sun, this was spectacular.
At the end, we were introduced to a very cute baby fox, then it was goodbye to Youssef and we crossed the road to find the girls in a hotel courtyard. Then it was into the van and back on the road.
We stopped at a market that operates on certain days. Yet again, this seemed an authentic step back in time, past many stalls of food and clothing, with a few donkeys walking by as well. There were not many tourists here.
This is garlic, not exactly the way you find it in the supermarkets of our countries.
At the market we happened to encounter one of the heads of our tour company. As is the Muslim custom, to date they had only asked for a down payment … of $40! We arranged to pay the balance. Dan told Hassan that in America we expect to pay in full long before a trip and no one would be offended if they would require this. Hassan said that their culture emphasized trust. This is an understatement.
This was the goat store! for about $50/kg you can get your own goat!!
This one seemed good, but could not fit in my luggage.
When people come buy their groceries at the market, they need to park their donkeys somewhere. This is their parking lot, for a couple bucks you can park it here without any time limit!
We witnessed a parking lot crash. Fortunately, nobody was hurt.
We walked back to the car passing by a few more spice stalls.
We got to visit one of the many fossil store. We got a nice tour of the store with brief explanations of different fossils that are available in the area. Most of these are marine fossils because this area was an ocean million of years ago. The one in the picture is an Ammonite, which are perhaps the most widely known fossil. These creatures lived in the seas between 240 – 65 million years ago, when they became extinct along with the dinosaurs. The name ‘ammonite’ originates from the Greek Ram-horned god called Ammon. Ammonites belong to a group of predators known as cephalopods, which includes their living relatives the octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus. The more you know!
They sell a lot of stuff here, from bath counters to huge fossil displays. Eitan was on a mission to buy a dinosaur finger and he did successfully buy a dinosaur claw for $10 after his traditional lengthy agonizing over which was absolutely the best dinosaur claw in the store. Later on, he discovered that dinosaur “claw” was actually a dinosaur tooth. Not bad, but the search for the dinosaur claw continues!
Then to one more Jewish cemetery, like if we haven’t visited enough of these already, where the women were buried separately from the men. The monuments we could read were only from the ‘50s and ‘60s, but it certainly felt old and Middle Eastern. Back in the van, we were shocked it was already after 1:00.
We drove past many beautiful desert towns til we reached Dades Gorge.
We strolled through a section of it, where Dan managed to get himself lost. We looked everywhere and we were about to leave without him as we can just find another dad/father in law/husband very easily, but at the end we somehow found him.
The river originates in the High Atlas range of the Atlas mountains, flowing some 350 kilometres (220 mi) southwest before joining the Draa River at the edge of the Sahara
The many-colored walls of the gorges range anywhere from 200 to 500 meters (650 to 1600 feet).
On we went until we went on a dirt road for about a half mile, arriving at our hotel. Another extraordinary place of lodging that Elly had found on TripAdvisor. Converted from an old kasbah, the enormous hotel rooms were unlike anything we had ever been in.
We had a delicious homemade dinner before going to sleep!
Bonus Pic Of The Day: The Berber flag! Each color corresponds to an aspect of Tamazgha, the territory inhabited by Berbers in North Africa:
Blue represents the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean; green represents nature and the green mountains; yellow represents the sands of the Sahara Desert.
The yaz symbolizes the “free man”, which is the meaning of the Berber word amazigh, the Berbers’ own name for themselves.