“Shut up, be quiet!” Mustafa, our taxi driver is sweating. And very angry at us. He turns the car in the middle of traffic while he screams: “I bring you back to busstation, no cheap hotel for you!” He, what happend? Let’s go back 10 minutes.
Leaving the bus in Agadir, where the Sous river flows into the Atlantic, Eveline and me get out. I met her in Marrakech and in search of her own adventure she decided to join me to Agadir. Like lost children we are an easy prey for taxi drivers who want to earn a quick buck from tourists. All of a sudden there is Mustafa with his battered taxi. Small mustache under big eyebrows and a sweaty forhead. A friend of him has a cheap hotel and he wants to bring us there. “Only tourist, good hotel!” This slogan comes out of the Lonely Planet of tourist scams but oke, lets go for it. We decide we pay him 50 Dirham for the trip. Like a stock car racer he is driving through the streets. Then he decides we have to pay 100 Dirham in stead of 50. When I object we get into a fight. He starts screaming and threathens to bring us back to the busstion. The car is already on it’s way back as a matter of fact. After some screaming we let him win the game. 100 Dirham. Sweaty taxi driver 1 – tourists 0. Is this Morocco?
After a day in Agadir it’s time to start my journey. The end of the river is not easy found but around noon I finally got to the beach. I can’t get through the water and mud so I decide that 100 meters from the ocean must do. While I start walking a flock of pink flamingos fly over my head.
I try to follow the river as close as possible, but soon this seems impossible. I have to walk through villages and towns on asfalt and gravel. I find myself in outskirts where children ask for money. A youngster tries to take one of my walking sticks because he can use it. Children throw rocks. I walk fast and try to get out of this “civilised” area. But I understand it, my wealth is in no comperisement to their poorness. I don’t think I’m rich by western standarts but here the inside of my bag is way more then a month of earnings. My name is no longer Ali Baba like in Marrakech, but mister Dihram.
Next day I walk into the countryside. People laugh more. They greet me and stick their thumbs up. We exchange smiles and everything becomes more positive. When entering a village most of the kids are quickly gathered around me and we shake hands, give hi fives and I let them listen to my electro music from my mp3-player. The countryside is filled with curious sheepherders, working people on orange fields and chilling people. These people seem happier then in the big cities where hussling is a way of life and making money. The way of life on the countryside is probably not too easy, but I could see it’s more rewarding.
Trying to follow rhe river is a quest. Mostly I get close by and find myself going through meadows of chillis, melons or eggplants. The river is a little canyon in the landscape but after 30 kilometers nearly dry. Sometimes there is a puddle of water where birds gather. In the night I pitch my tent while bullfrogs sing as the mosques sing their prayers. Sometimes a lonely dog howls along. I almost feel the urge to howl as well. As an alternative to the riverbank I walk the little roads through the fields as close to the river as possible. Sometimes I find my own paths and the going is slow. Sometimes I choose asfalt and I can make up for the time wandering the fields.
Most of the houses I come across are made of clay with hay or concrete bricks. No windows. There is no need for this, since it’s nearly always hot here. Early march is not too warm. I’ve seen people with woolen hats and thick jackets. 25 degrees is not warm. Summer is warm. I’m glad I’m not here in summer. The “heat” makes it harder to walk, especially in the fields there is hardly any shade and after a hour of walking I need to rest and air my feet. Blisters start to grow after day one and are a continious source of worries. Especially on my left foot where they have a foursome on an area of one centimeter. All I can do is air my feet regulair and in the process eat what I gathered in the villages.
The stores in the villages sell bread and sardines. Fruit and veggies are bought on local souks. Which I don’t pass. Bread and sardines it is. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. One morning I walked into a village to turn up to the litte shop of Mustapha to gather some supplies (read: sardines and bread). I told him what I was doing and he invited me for tea in this house. Soon a table was set and bread, oil, honey and oranges where brought by his wife and daughter. In the traditional Moroccon manner tea was poured from nearly a meter high with fine precision. The feast could begin; this is real Morocco.
After a day of rest and blister healing I continue to follow the Sous. 100 kilometers are left before I head North and head into the ice capped mountains of the High Atlas. The next stretch are mainly banana fields or a long asfalt road. Let’s see what happens!