07 April 2011

Morocco or bust!

Jma el Fna, Marrakech

A disorienting few days being quickly ushered through piles of policies and paperwork in Marrakech culminated in a long, windy road trip for more orientation and training in Ouarzazate. Going over the High Atlas Mountains was a good match for what was happening in my head. The road increasingly turned back on itself as we climbed ever higher. I had to grit my teeth to distract from the growing nausea, but the sights through the window compelled me to keep looking. The smooth, newly upholstered, gendarme-escorted bus seemed to make the the dizziness worse.

For several days after arrival in North Africa, we were semi-sequestered in calm, non-threatening hotel resorts. Instead of the immediate confrontation usually suffered upon arrival in a foreign country (which somehow leads to quickly getting one's bearings and adjusting to the new smells and sounds there), we were cared for and protected... and I kept failing to feel prepared or properly oriented.

But the excitement over the next two years, and the distant mountains and desert held my focus enough to make it through the dizzy period.

crossing the Tizi-n-Test Pass, High Atlas Mountains

arrival in the dessert