I drove further into the desert today – as far as you can go without a 4×4 or a camel. The road comes to an end at M’hamid, about 15 miles (24 km) from the (closed) border with Algeria.
Again the road was excellent, apart from one stretch of roadworks where the diversion was onto a rough piste.
I’m afraid the scenery was stunning again – sorry if this is getting repetitive! As well as flat, stony desert and mountainous, rocky desert, this area has sandy desert.
In a sense turning around at M’hamid meant the start of the road home. Ach well… The journey doesn’t start properly until Saturday, with the drive back to Ouarzazate.
I didn’t hang about in M’Hamid. At the first cafe/restaurant coming into town, a local stood in front of me in the middle of the street to try to divert me into the cafe/restaurant. He had to jump…
I had two more similar experiences of aggressive sales techniques within 5 minutes, and decided they could keep their town.
I’ve had to deal with that kind of c*ap before in tourist hotspots like Marrakech and even being ready with the “big smile but get lost” response, it still annoys me. It is damaging for their tourism industry. People on organised tours will be spared it of course, as they’re “spoken for”.
For balance, I had a nice gossip with the guys in the service station where I stopped to buy crisps and chocolate.
I stopped by the roadside to eat it a few minutes later, and quite quickly a local stopped to check if the car had broken down or got a puncture. Then we had a wee gossip and a laugh – about the old Scotland/England thing, oddly enough.
ⓒ iain taylor, 2017