7th Day

March 27

We awoke with first light at around 6:00am and quickly prepared to hike the giant dune next to our camp site.  None of us slept much.  This was the first time we’d shared sleeping quarters… and Ted snores.  The sun had not yet peaked over the sand but it wouldn’t likely be visible anyway as the clouds would keep it hidden all day.

The texture and make up of the sand was fascinating.  It was more like dust than anything else.  It is finer than the sand on any beach I’ve encountered.  It also comes in a flavor of red unlike any color I’ve seen.  It’s no wonder they film movies here.  The red sand “represents” the desert in movies but, like so much else in films, this is far from reality.  Only a tiny fraction of the real desert is actually sandy.  Mostly, it’s long stretches of gravel covering hardened earth.  The beauty of this landscape is undeniable however and justifies all of the Hollywood attention.

Our morning ambition was to summit the large dune near our camp site.  The dunes were something more than we’d expected however.  For each step up, the sand beneath your foot sinks and recedes.  So a three foot step forward means you only gain one foot of distance.  There is a quick sense that the desert is against you in all possible respects.  Our ambition would not be denied however as we continued to press on.  The steady wind increased as we ascended further and further pushing the sand into our eyes, ears, nostrils, hair, etc.  The journey was worth the reward as we captured photos and reveled in the spectacular morning.

Once we returned to the camp, we quickly collected our things and returned to our camels.  We rode our equally friendly beasts for another 2 hour trek through the desert to our hotel where Yousseff was awaiting our arrival.  During our ride, Ted dismounted his camel and grabbed the cameras to collect some solid and much needed footage.  At the hotel, I grabbed a shower while Jeff and Ted ate the typical morning fair of bread and jam combined with mint tea.  After breakfast, we hit the road again with a long day of driving ahead of us

We met our hosts Jonathan and Jeni at one of the main entrances of the Fez medina.  From there, we trudged all of our gear through yet another labyrinth of streets.  We’d learned that medinas were built in such a way to defend against enemies.  This now makes a great deal of sense.  It’s difficult to attack a town when you can’t find your way around it!