Week 7: destination: sahara desert

I have been waiting for this week since the first day I arrived in Morocco.
I woke up at 7 in the morning. Put my bag on my back and was ready for the trip of a lifetime. I met with four other volunteers around 7:20 and was already on the train to the Sahara desert by 7:45 am.
First train ride left from Rabat to Marrakesh. After hour and a half hours, we arrived to Marrakesh where we took a 5 hour bus ride to Ouarzazate, “the door of the desert.” Located south of the High Atlas Mountains, it is also a noted film making location welcoming many international companies. The bus ride was a trip! Moving at fast speeds on curvy mountains, passengers were bound to get motion sickness. Luckily, none of the volunteers or my got sick, but others were not so lucky. Some even threw up on the floor of the bus in which slide down to the front and was stopped by our bags (ICK!)
Once we arrived, we were picked up by our tour guides who took us to our campsite. The campsite was breathtaking. It was located deep within the city, so it was silent; when I would look up, the stars where bright and clear. We had dinner surrounded by a small fountain, stray animals, and good company. Shortly after, we went to our rooms because we had to wake up early for tomorrow’s adventures.
Woken up by rooster calls, we had breakfast on the terrace and got into our taxi, where we would sit for the next 5 hours. The taxi ride would take us directly to where our camel ride would be. Yes, CAMEL ride! Driving through the mountains and the desert was beautiful and so unreal, not to mention super hot. Miles apart from each other, little villages lied within the mountains. It was something I have never seen before and was very intrigued on how people could make a living so far away from everything.
We had to arrive around 5pm to be able to ride the camels. So to kill time, our tour guides took us to what seemed like a hotel where we refreshed ourselves in the pool. This was not a typical pool with chlorine and other chemicals. It was a small rectangle “pool” with fresh water. After a hour dip, we were finally on our way to the camels. Shortly after, we stopped at a local shop to buy our turbans to protect us from the sun and sand while riding the camels.
Five camels where waiting for us when we arrived. We each chose our favorite camel, depending on size and color, and hoped right on. Our tour guides held the camels by a rope and each rope was tied to each camel. The craziest part about the tour guides walking the whole way to the desert in the scorching heat is that they are fasting due to Ramadan.
Riding through the desert was unbelievable. It was amazing that such creations exist in this world. We stopped at a village in the desert in which they just recently got electricity a year ago. All the little kids would come around us to say hello. Afterwards, we went to our camp site in which we would sleep in tents. We were greeted with dinner and music entertainment by our tour guides. In which a sand storm hit us in the middle of a song! We all ran into a closed hut nearby, closed the doors, and waited for the storm to settle down. Hours passed and the storm was only getting worse. Dying of the heat, we all decided to make a run for it to our tents. I have no idea how our tour guide was able to see through the storm because I tried to open my eyes and every time I was greeted with a blotch of sand in my eyes. Once we got to the tents, we were covered with sand from head to toes. Even places I did not know had access to the sand.
Early the next morning, we retraced all our steps and got back to Rabat safely. The trip was truly an experience of a lifetime.
week 7 blog

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