Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 8: Of farewells and mountain races

Once again, I slept open air, although I'm not really sure how much sleep I actually got since the mosquey singing went on well into the early hours of the morning. Don't get me wrong, it was hauntingly beautiful to listen to but when it's 3am, and you're planning on getting up to visit the tombs at 9am then you kinda want to get some shut eye. Woke up to the sunshine blasting one side of my face and what appeared to be a new mosquito bite on my finger.

Once it became evident that we weren't going to make the tombs before the girls' flight, we decided to stay in and were served a tasty breakfast of pancakes, flat breads and mint tea alongside a group of Australian girls.

Big Matt, Oli, Angela and I headed into the medina to go shopping for souvenirs and after a lot of haggling, we managed to acquire some hareem pants before sending the girls off on their flights home - Angela for a wedding, Katy for the Paralympic opening ceremony.

The rest of us, now four little Selwynites, piled into a taxi and headed to Imlil, a secluded little village in the heart of the Atlas mountains. The ride took about an hour and a half, and on the way, we saw many a mirage. We also stopped for brake fluid, which was a sign of things to come...this driver is the safest we've had so far, and with the amount of twists and turns on the mountain road, I was very happy to put my life in his hands.

Once we arrived at the hostel, we sat down to mint tea and fended off the owner's attempts to extract more money out of us, but he was incredibly insistent and eventually convinced us to eat a tagine there.

After a bit of exploration around the village, we came back with food supplies, a map of toubkal and four native jackets - mine for survival purposes, the other three for banter. Not even joking, I had not packed a single item of warm clothing and had been assured many a time by the others that I would die up there by virtue of freezing to death. Five degrees at the summit, last time I checked online...

Now that I was very slightly better equipped, we went back to the hostel for some delicious dinner, some of the best tagine that I have tasted. Knowing that we had an early morning start and a long day ahead, we decided to get an early night and after packing the essentials into a few bags, we had lights out by 10pm - the guys meant business, much to my surprise. Bring on Toukbal!

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