31st May – 1st June
The twelve hour journey from the Sahara Desert to Marrakesh deserves more than this journal entry but books dedicating poetry and prose to its beauty and diversity. As the bus toddles up towards the High Atlas, reaching nearly 4,000 km, the road loops and turns and opens the curtain: The sand-colored mountainside changes to ocre, as if opening a wound created by the sun and the wind of the region. Rain songs and scars carved from the peaks to the skirts of the canyons. Ocre-colored villages and their mosques scatter within the bedrock looking out like many blinking eyes and ears; they breathe and sigh and watch for passerbys like us. Forests of fern and cedar span miles; veiny trees with scorched and exposed roots. Farmers on wheat fields collecting their golden harvest. Flowers of pink and purple blossom. Grass as tall as corn stalks, palm and olive trees and cactus hedges, with swollen fingers and rusty nails, border the road. A donkey, tied to a tree, chews on some lunch.
The Atlas crouches down and its rugged canyons level off to a grassy plane. Marrakesh appears in the blue horizon ahead.