Off the Grid Village
Trip Start May 01, 2001
44Trip End Jun 30, 2001
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Day 390: 5 hours, 3.4 kms
Now, let's head off to the mysterious "empty quarter", a section of west Morocco that seems to be lacking in towns, main roads and public transportaion.
All attempts to explore this area have been quite frustrating because of the shortage of transportation. From the east, I tried to find transportation to Oulmes with no success, and it took me three tries to finally catch a bus to Rommani… And I almost got stranded in Ezzhiliga, but was rescued by some jolly vendors returning from market day
But hey, why not end the year with something adventurous?
The bus tarries for almost 2 hours in Oued Zem, taking us closer and closer to evening. I have half a mind to just throw in the towel. I mean, is Moulay Boazza really going to be worth waiting all day to get there?
And then finally we’re off, to find out what the “empty quarter” is all about.
The road heads north and then east, through some medium sized emerald hills. And it quickly becomes apparent why this region is so underdeveloped: the soil is extremely rocky—in fact it’s mostly all just rock! Making for some beautiful scenery, but not very liveable. We do pass a couple of very, very shabby hamlet which to my surprise, have no electricity! I mean, last summer I found villages way off the map on the high slopes of the Atlas mountains and they had electricity, but here there’s none
Suddenly electrical lines appear someday and it seems like we’re approaching a town. Surely enough, we come down into a valley and there is a scruffy but lively little market town. I have to make a quick decision: I know if I skip this town, I’ll almost certainly never come back to it. And I might regret that. So I grab my bag and guitar and hop off the bus… I’ll worry about getting to Moulay Boazza later.
Souk Sebt Ibn Rahou would be really ugly if it weren’t for the beautiful surrounding hills, peppered with trees and rock formations and partly shrouded in mist. The town is quite poor, with most of the houses unplastered. There are a row of shops and even little eateries along the road, but clearly there isn’t a whole lot of revenue coming into this area.
It only takes me 20 minutes or so to see the town, then I head back up to the highway on towards Moulay Bouazza
I do quickly take my video cliff up on a hillside, with some cool rock formations behind me, just in time before the rain starts… but fortunately doesn’t last too long. But darkness is coming, so I opt to try and catch a ride on a van coming through the rest of the way to Moulay Bouazza.
A good start to my adventure in the Hillcountry.