December 26, 1992

Ouarzazate

Therefore, I would go Ouarzazate as first city of Morocco, not Casablanca, not Marrakesh. Of course, I would go Marrakesh later.

I woke up at 8 AM, checked out the hotel. At a coffee shop, I saw outside was becoming bright while taking breakfast. It was a coffee shop at Luxembourg, croissant and cafe took 10F. Breakfast at Cafe was expensive. I would have been to this kind of coffee shop for a breakfast.

I used the RER C line to go to Orly Airport. It’s great that there are two big airports so the near center of Paris. An RER ticket took 42F, I wonder how expensive, but it was first class. Umm.

A plane of Royal Air Morocco decreased its altitude. The plane passed snowed Atlas, and I saw a desert area. I found a river without water. I guess it flows with rarely fallen rain. I wondered where was the airport because I couldn’t see from the plane flew very low altitude. Suddenly runway appeared and the plane landed there.

This airport looked great. In a desert, there is a runway and a very small building only. I understood that the color of the building was the same as the dessert, so I couldn’t find the airport from the plane.

At passport control, I was asked the name of the hotel which I would stay. I answered “Atlas” which is the first hotel on a list on a guidebook. The man said to another man “Hey, hey, Atlas!” or something. I couldn’t understand their language. Another man said to me “Konbanwa” (good evening in Japanese). So I smiled and said “Konbanwa”. “Atlas” was the cheapest hotel in the guidebook.

First, I have to exchange money. There was only one person to handle at a Bank. There was a long queue. Sometimes he said to the customer “Just moment, no money, I get money soon”, so it took a long time. I could exchange Japanese Yen with Moroccan dirham. 100 Yen made 7.029 DH.

I had guessed many Moroccans on the plane, but there were many French for vacation. So the airport was very crowded. Orly airport in Paris was also very crowded. Many French people were going somewhere during Christmas & New Year vacation. Ouarzazate was a small village, and it seemed an edge of the world to me. But French people were coming here easily.

I went out of the airport building. There was a small open space you can find a similar one at a front of a small station in a country area. I didn’t know how to go to a town, how far to the town, etc. I found a microbus and asked a driver whether I could get on it. But it was a charter bus for a private tour. I had to take a taxi.

I tried to find a taxi. At the bank inside the airport building, some French lady helped me in English, because a man from Bank asked me something in French. The lady got a taxi and let me go with her. It’s 30DH to the town. I paid 20DH.

I got a room at Atlas hotel. 31DH. It was a two-story building and I could go out a roof top. On a rooftop, someone was drying clothes on a rope. I saw the sun was setting. The setting sun shined a town, very beautiful.

I was walking around the town. Young guys having teas called me, and I chatted with them for a while. They spoke English. They learned English at a school, they said. They were students and it’s a holiday of ten days. I was not sure it’s true or not. They said few Japanese came here. They were not so bad guys.

I asked them where a Hamam (Public steam bath) was. One of them said he would take me to the Hamam. I went back to a hotel and took a soap, shampoo, and towel. We went to the Hamam, and he asked me to pay for him. I paid 10DH, it’s OK to pay for a guide. After a long time, I washed my body well and relaxed. After that he wanted me to have diner with him. I guessed he wanted me to pay for him, but anyhow it’s the first day in Morocco, I went with him to learn. We went to a very small restaurant where no French came, and we had a chicken which was 15DH for each. Eventually, it’s on me.

I realized later, it’s a very expensive price that 10DH for Hamam.

After that, I bought a bottle of water, 5DH for 1.5L.

I went out to the rooftop to watch the stars. While walking around, wow! surprised! I found a man who stays in a small room like a storeroom. There is a room on the rooftop. He called me to come in. He was Moroccan. He gave me a glass of wine. He came here from Marrakesh. What was he doing? He seemed to be lonely. He talked to me in French, but I didn’t understand. I would have been able to speak French.

I realized that it’s normal that a hotel had a room on a rooftop after staying some days in Morocco.

 
 

December 27, 1992

I went to Taourirt Kasbah located near here on foot. Taourirt is the name of the person who lived there, and Kasbah is like a fortress. It’s a sightseeing spot, so French families were coming here on foot from near hotels. I paid 5DH and entered in. It’s not so interesting without guidance.

At an exit, a man asked me if Japanese I was. He wanted me to set a date and time for his calculator. I asked him where he got it, and he said he was given it from some Japanese engineer who had worked for an organization related to UNESCO.

Children

Children

After leaving Taourirt Kasbah, I walked around there, I went through a narrow path, there was a small village. I found an open space and water supply. Children came here to fill their small tanks with water. Sometimes I passed by French tourists. Children were very cheerful and said to me “Ça va?”, “Japonais?”, etc. Ah, I could have spoken French. I said to the children “Photo?” and took their picture.

following to women

following to women

women who washing clothes

Women who wash clothes

When I was walking toward the center of the town, I met women who had clothes to be washed and a washboard in their washtub. They were walking somewhere. I guessed they went to wash clothes because it’s a fine Sunday. I followed them.

They went to a river near the town. I was a little bit away from them. They asked me, “Ça va?”, and I answered, “Oui, ça va bien”. They talked to me about something in French, but I didn’t understand it. I could have spoken French. Anyway, they asked me, “Spanish?”, so I said, “Japanese”, then they asked, “Tourist?”, so I said, “Yes, tourist”. I wanted to take a picture of them, I got out my camera from a bag, and asked, “photo?”. They said “OK, but send us a picture from Japan”. I got their address and took a picture of washing clothes at a river. They were very nice.

In the afternoon, I met six Japanese girls near a bus terminal. I was surprised. But in this small village, some Moroccan talked to me, “Konichiwa”, “Konbanwa”. It meant many Japanese had come here.

Aït Benhaddou

Aït Benhaddou

Aït Benhaddou

Aït Benhaddou

In the afternoon, I went to Aït Benhaddou, which was a beautiful village.

A small stream flowed, A green was beautiful, It seemed to be good in Summer. Aït Benhaddou is 30km far from Ouarzazate. I had to take a taxi. I talked to a taxi driver that I paid 200DH for a round trip and staying there 45 minutes. It’s very expensive, but a guidebook said there was a group tour of 140DH. I accepted 200DH for a tour by myself.

 
 

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