Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beni what? Beni Mellal

With 4 days off work due to Eid, Jeff and I decided to hit up Jebel Toubkal. Our attempts however, led us around the medina, to numerous bus stops and Grand Taxi ranks until we discovered that our attempts to get to Asni or Imlil would continue to be futile, until after Ramadan.

So, after consulting the travellers bible (Lonely Planet) we decided it would be nice to hit up Beni Mellal. Only 3 hours away, mountains, albeit smaller than Jebel Toubkal, some cheap accomodation and a working bus service, sealed the deal.

On the bus to Beni Mellal, all of the memories of local bus travel came flooding back - ash trays filled with ancient gum and rotting paper. An empty water bottle wedged in the ceiling vent to maintain badly needed air circulation. Numerous teenage boys and the occasional woman briefly boarding the bus to sell shoes, tissues, necklaces, fake Dior sunglasses and trinkets.

A devilish young boy sat next to us on the back of the bus. After some recipricol smiles, he was turfed by the overzealous attendant. He returned a few moments later, proudly displaying his ticket which was in his jacket pocket all along. He again looked up at us for a smile. We nicknamed him 'sneaky smile'.

Once in Beni Mellal we discovered the garden and springs of Ain Asserdoun, numerous sheep and goats, mountains to climb and a sunset that was upon us before we knew it.
The next morning we got ready for our hike.We passed the beautiful gardens on our rocky path up the mountain.

We walked around the Berber village at the top of the mountain, and during our descent, encountered some cheeky boys and...

...also the odd goat up a tree.

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