My first Morocco is Ourzazate

December 26, 1992


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 were becoming bright while taking a breakfast. It was a coffee shop at Luxembourg, croissant and cafe took 10F. A breakfast at Cafe was expensive. I would have been this kind of coffee shop for a breakfast.

I used RER C line to go to Orly Airport. It's great that there are two big airports so 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 desert area. I found a river without water. I guess it flows with rarely fallen rain. I wondered where was a airport because I couldn't see it though the plane flown 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 a color of the building was the same as desert, so I couldn't find the airport from the plane.

At a passport control, I was asked a name of hotel which I would stay. I answered "Atlas" which is a first hotel of 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 cheapest hotel on the guidebook.

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

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

I went out the airport building. There was small open space you can find similar one at a front of a small station of country area. I didn't know how to go to a town, how far to the town, etc. I found a micro bus and asked to a driver weather I could get on it. But it was a charter bus for 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 of 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 of Atlas hotel. 31DH. It was a two story building and I could go out a roof top. At a roof top, someone were 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 them for a while. They spoke English. They learned English at a school, they said. They were students and it's holiday of ten days. I was not sure it's true or not. They said few Japanese came to here. They were not so bad guys.

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

I realized later, it's very expensive price that 10DH for hamam.

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

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

I realised that it's normal that a hotel had a room on a roof top after staying some days in Morocco.


December 27, 1992

I went to Taourirt Kasbah located near here on foot. Taourirt is a name of 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 a guidance.

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



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

following to women

following to women

women who washing clothes

Women who washing clothes

When I was walking toward center of the town, I met women who had clothes to be washed and a washboard into their washtub. They were walking to somewhere. I guessed they went to washing 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 something in French, but I didn't understand it. I could have speak 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 their 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 round trip and staying there 45 minutes. It's very expensive, but a guide book said there was a group tour of 140DH. I accepted 200DH for a tour by myself.