Friday, December 26, 2008

Camel Trek....NOT!

When I returned to Marrakech I had planned to go on a three day camel
trek and booked it the night I got back, at the last minute.
Unfortunately, I had no itinerary or any information about the tour
except that there were camels and I had to wake up at 6am the first day.

So, the next morning started with about 15 of us tourists plopped in a
van and driven off. Most of it was driving for an hour or two with
stops here and there. The driver only spoke Arabic and French, so when
we stopped it was never clear how long we had. I mean I even asked in
French and the driver told me one time and then another person who
asked would get another time. We had no tour guide and it was only
after the 3rd or 4th stop when we all realized there were things to
see at the seemingly random stops we thought were bathroom breaks.
Some people started to complain, while I just sat back laughing to the
ridiculousness of the whole thing. I mean how great a business is
that, to take people on a tour and just hire a driver not speaking any
of the languages of the tourists and just drive and stop at places
giving no information.

On the second night and hundreds of kilometers away we finally reached
the camel trek part of the tour. From the other tourists I found out
that the camel rides were suppose to take about two hours each way, to
and from the Berber camp in the desert. Everyone was excited and
sunset was quickly approaching. Once we got on the camels everyone was
talking and joking around. After a half an hour the group were not so
talkative or joyous anymore due to the uncomfortable seating on the
camels. For some reason they only placed a single blanket for padding
on the hump of the camel and felt that was enough for tourists.

When we finally reached the Berber camp site it was pitch black and
everyone was aching, tired, and starving. As we all crawled into a
huge communal tent we were served some nice tea to fend of the dessert
cold. After a while we all started to wonder if we were going to have
dinner, but only could get a less than definitive answer from the
camel guides. Half of the group was fading fast, falling asleep. Only
after three hours did food finally appear and we all devoured our
meals. Then we all decided to sleep, while the Berber guides were all
perplexed on why we didn't want to hear live music or dance.

Everyone was dreading the camel ride back the next morning and by the
time we reached our destination all but one little boy was on the
camel. Everyone else slowly decided to get off and walk through the
desert. The tour turned out to be more of a driving tour than anything
else, where it felt like 10% of it was activity. It was an interesting
tour, one that I would never do again, but I did meet some nice people
and we all met up for drinks after the whole ordeal to have a laugh.

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