In the morning I awoke to the sound of sheep in the yard next door. I also realized I had something of an upset stomach. Apparently the food or the water didn’t settle with me properly. It would be a full day of driving so I decided to invoke a fast to avoid any unnecessary pit stops in the desert.
In Ouarzazate, we stopped at a movie studio where they toured us through the sets of multiple movies that have been filmed there in recent years (The Mummy 2, Jesus of Nazarath, Moses, Ben Hur–a new version, Alexander the Great, Gladiator, etc.).
We then visited another local casbah and hesitantly took a guided tour. It lasted about thirty minutes and turned out to be worth the $10 as we learned a great deal (Also, it enabled me to ask our tour guide a myriad of asinine questions that he patiently tolerated).
After lunch, Yousseff heard about my stomach malady. Several towns later, we stopped so Ted could buy rose water and Yousseff could find some cumin to help me feel better. While Jeff and Ted bought Eau de Rose, I sat on the street corner and watched the people go about their lives. It turns out the white American tourist was more of a spectacular for them than they were for me. Eventually, Yousseff returned from the “pharmacy” with a bag of cumin and found me sitting on the curb. He poured a handful of the dust like powder into my hand and told me to eat it. I stared at him reluctantly only to see his reassuring nod. Gauging my hesitance, he then reached into the bag and poured himself a handful. After he swallowed down the dust, I shoved the handful in my mouth and realized I’d taken on more than I could chew (the experience was similar to consuming mildly flavored dirt). It immediately took every ounce of moisture from my mouth. Smiling Yousseff replied, “avec de l’eau” and handed me a bottle of water as I choked the last morsels of dust down.
That night, we made it to La Gorge Dades. We happened upon a charming hotel for $25 per night including dinner, breakfast and singing Germans.