This is a video (not ours) of the mountainous road we traveled yesterday while returning to Marrakech. The winding roads continued for over six hours.
Yesterday, on the return trip from the Atlas Mountains back to Marrakech, I was seated in the back seat on the right, preferring to have the advantage of better shots of the scenery. In Morocco, a former French colony, drivers, are seated on the left and they drive on the right side of the road, compared to the US and Canada.
|Kasbah along the mountain drive.
With nothing and no one blocking my view, I’d intended to take a video and many photos on the long way down the mountain. My good intentions were foiled when no more than 30 minutes into the seven hours into the drive from the hotel, for the first time in our travels I developed motion sickness, unlike any case I’ve ever had in my life.
|The greenery against the clay rocks is breathtaking.
|We were curious as to the lives of the Berber people living in many small villages in the mountains.
After eight cruises in 2013, the unbelievable 50 foot, 15.23 meters waves for three days on the Norwegian Epic while crossing the Atlantic Ocean beginning on April 20th, neither of us ever had a tinge of motion sickness. Never once did I get sick while driving through the mountainous roads we in Tuscany, Italy last summer.
|A reception area near the entrance to a Kasbah.
If Italy’s roads were winding, the roads in the Atlas Mountains were that much worse, especially with the length of the drive. It Italy, we drove a short 25 minutes each way in order to do errands. Never once did I get motion sickness in our travels until yesterday.
A housing area in a village along the road.
Not the case yesterday, when I made an awful mistake. During the beginning of the less scenic part of the winding roads, I read a chapter in a book on the Kindle app on my phone. Big mistake. It was with this cocky attitude of being invincible that I ate raw vegetables when first arriving in Morocco, ending up sick for weeks.
|Along a modern highway in Ouarzazate. Actually, all the highways were modern and maintained in most of the towns and villages along the long drive.
Yesterday, with that same laissez-faire attitude that, in a short time I put down the phone, in a state of self disdain, knowing I’d crossed the motion sickness barrier and most likely, would be ill for the remainder of the hours-long drive down the mountains. So true it was!
|At times, we were surprised to see the modern buildings.
For over five full hours, every hairpin turn, every winding curve, every passing maneuver, exacerbated my desire to tell Mohamed to stop the vehicle so I could puke on the side of the road. I tried everything: sitting up straight, looking forward as opposed to the side of the road, leaning my seat back, all to no avail.
|Many of the older buildings in Ouizazate were relatively maintained. In all of the construction we’ve seen, nothing appears to vary greatly from the traditional Moroccan architecture.
I knew that once my equilibrium was gone, the only way to recover was to get out of the mountains onto straight roads. I kept asking Tom the time. It crawled, as compared to the competent fast pace Mohamed navigated the treacherous roads.
|These are the walls of a double wall protected ClubMed in Ouarzazate.
At one point Tom said, “Don’t start that!” What??? I wasn’t “starting this on purpose!” My state of motion sickness wasn’t something I could turn off. It wasn’t psychological! I quickly reminded him, “This is like when you get an intestinal response from eating bread. You can’t will it away” But, I wasn’t about to be angry. I needed to focus on keeping from puking in the car, my only mission on the rest of the way down.
|An entrance to a Kasbar.
How badly I wanted to take more photos. In a few spots, I managed to take a few shots quickly looking forward in order to regain my focus.
|These are not unlike apartments and condos that may line any highway in any country with only a few design differences.
After the first hour, I realized another possible contributing factor; I had eaten breakfast at the hotel; a two-egg omelet, and three triangles of Laughing Cow cheese since I was still hungry from the previous night’s sparse dinner of tough meat and overcooked zucchini and carrots. Surely, a full stomach contributed to my awful state of dizziness and nausea.
|We wondered if all of this housing development had stopped due to economic conditions.
The time slowly ticked by. When we finally reached level roads, I straightened in my seat, looking ahead. During the last 30 minutes into Marrakech, I began to recover.
|We also wondered as to the expenses and the sources of income for the people living in these developments.
Adil met us at the drop off point outside the Medina which Mohamed had arranged. He was delighted to help us with our bags. At that point, I wasn’t capable of carrying my handbag, let alone anything else for the long walk back to Dar Aicha.
|The colors in the terrain and the structures blended so well that at times it was easy to miss the structures.
My legs were stiff after sitting in one spot in my seat in the SUV without stopping for a bathroom break during the last six hours which neither of us needed (I was too sick to even take a sip of water during the entire drive). The return walk to Dar Aicha further helped alleviate the remnants of the motion sickness.
|One of the few photos I took as we navigated the winding mountain roads on the return drive to Marrakech.
By the time we reached our riad, I was fast on my way to feeling well, especially when we saw the smiling faces of Madame Zahra and Oumaima happy to see us, as we were them.
|These exquisite rock formations appeared as if they’d been carved by hand. Only Mother Nature and millions of years contributed to this amazing scenery.
Neither of us felt like traveling in a petite taxi to go out to dinner, and without giving ample notice to Madame and Oumaima to shop and prepare dinner, we both agreed we’d forgo dinner to snack on nuts and cheese. Food was the last thing on my mind.
|There was one picturesque scene after another.
By 6:00 pm we were unpacked and ready for a relaxing evening. I finished yesterday’s post, uploaded it by 7:00 pm and we were psyched to watch what proved to be an excellent movie that we’d previously downloaded on Graboid, “August: Osage County.”
From time to time, a small hotel popped up on the mountain drive
With many more photos from our short trip yet to post, we’re staying in today. Spring Break, in many countries, started yesterday and the souk will be packed today and tomorrow, most likely continuing over the next week. We’ll attempt an outing.
|On a few occasions, we saw motor homes navigating the mountain roads.
Have a wonderful weekend as spring attempts to peek out from an awful winter for many of our worldwide readers. Stay tuned for more.
Photo from one year ago today, April 12, 2013:
|Blurry photo of us taken by a tablemate on the Carnival Liberty as we were having dinner at a “sharing” table in the main dining area. For details of that date, please click here.