A 1001 Moroccan spectacle
He puts my hair behind my ear, his hand feels rough. I can feel the callus in his hand. He wraps the cloth around my head and binds it in my neck. “Now you look like a real Moroccan lady” he says. He turns to my friend and wraps another cloth around her head. He then takes a view steps back and looks at us “you ladies are now ready for a Saharan adventure!”
I open the window, it is hot in the car, the sand twirls over the ground when we pass. The backseat of the car is covered in sand and soon we all are. We pass amazing rock formations, oases of dates and henna in the Drâa valley, kashba’s widely spread along a wide river. After a while we stop at M’Hamid, the gate to the Sahara.
In M’Hamid everything seems to have the same sandy desert colors except the people. The people here are dark skinned with beautiful big brown eyes. Their hair and body is covered with a indigo blue-colored turban and robe. “They are, just like me, part of the Touareg tribe” Tala, our guide tells us. When I look around I see that only the men are wearing a turban, a cloth, whereas the women do not. “The cloth we wear is called eghewid, we sometimes call ourselfs Kel Tagelmoust, which means the veiled”.
We enter a market to buy some goods for our stay in the desert. The covered market is full with flies attracted to the death meat that hangs in the stalls everywhere, the fruit and vegetables are stacked in the middle of the market. One stand exists of a stick with two goats attached to it via a rope and several rabbits in a cage. Cats are walking around slowly, wary. The only noise comes from a couple of men who seem to be in some sort of discussion and gesturing wildly with their hands. Talking loud, screaming almost. The goats look around sadly, their last view on this earth. Whereas the rabbits nibble on their, probably, last root not paying attention to the world outside of the cage.
The fruit stacked in the middle of the market square looks amazing. The watermelon is so big I can’t stop pointing at it. Tala thinks it is too heavy to carry so we continue to buy some meat for the night. The salesman cuts the meat right in front of us after which he places it in a plastic bag. We are finished and walk back to the car to put all the meat in the coolbox.
Soon the only view we have is the endless desert. Everywhere we look is the same golden brown sand, more and more dunes loom and soon we enter the real world of the desert. After a two hour ride we stop near some tents. It is quiet, the wind slights over the huge dunes that changed from gold brown to orange with the sun setting. Tala takes the goods out of the car and immediately begins to cut the vegetables and the meat.
I help him a bit but am soon derived from cutting the vegetables to wanting to explore these amazing desert dunes. “Go on” Tala tells me. He only has to tell me once and I’m off. I wander, I take in the desert air, up and down the dunes. The desert as far as the eyes can see, endless. Nothing but dunes, a blue sky and a setting sun. The sand feels warm, not hot, just warm. It is already cooling down. The sun, so solitary at the sky, far away but so bright and big. Not to get lost in the desert on my own I try not to leave the camp too far behind. I’m not really that good in astrology so no direction of the moon will make me find my way back.
When the sun is sunken in de desert I walk back to camp where a wonderful meal is awaiting me. “True Touareg tajine in the Sahara, a cultural peak” Tala says. The tajine is superb. We have eaten many tajines in Moroc but none as good as this one. In the meantime the darkness has surrounded us. We are sitting on beautiful Persian rugs with some wonderful colored pillows. Like an Arabian night is supposed to be.
One by one the stars appear until they are uncountable. They twinkle, fall and sometimes even disappear. The sky is moving, the wind lifts up the sand and we have fallen silent. I want to keep watching the stars the whole night but the magic of the day made me tired. Slowly, after making several wishes, we fall asleep under an unbelievable spectacle.