I never really thought I would like the desert. I always just assumed it would be a dry, empty, hot place. I love lush green places. I love trees, which is quite evident if you check out my earlier post about AIR Yogalates teacher training. After moving to Morocco, I decided I had to see the Sahara before I left the country. Just so I could have done it, you know, bucket list style. The opportunity to visit the desert came this year with my friends, Ashley and Kris. They came to visit me in Morocco on a grand tour of Europe. We spent a few days in Casablanca, then we took off to Marrakech. Where we relaxed, ate, shopped, haggled, drank oj, got henna done in that order 😉 . Now, for those of you know don’t know, Marrakech this time of year is HOT. The Sahara is also HOT. I was told several times that this plan was a little crazy. Especially since it is Ramadan, but who knows when my peeps will get back to Morocco. We spent the night in a Riad. Mine was Riad Khol which was an absolutely beautiful. The modern Moroccan twist on décor, the friendly staff, and the icy pool water were so refreshing coming in from the streets of the Souk. I love seeing my friends faces light up the first time that they see the Jmal el fna for the first time. The lights, the sounds, the call to prayer hanging on the wind. This is the magic of the Medina in Marrakech. The next morning, we woke up super early to meet with Khaled, our guide from Sahara Services. The tour was expensive for Morocco, but I will say I think I got my money’s worth, and happily reccomend the investment. Check out http://saharaservices.info/product/sahara-highlights/ if you are interested. In order to get to the Sahara, you have to cross the high Atlas Mountains, the anti-Atlas Mountains, and then quite a bit of terrain before you arrive the dunes. In the High Atlas Mountains there can be snow, pine tress, and thunder storms. The road is one of the most dangerous in the world, but is it ever amazing.
Once we arrived in the desert, I was struck by the peace and wonder I experienced. I had not anticipated falling in love with a dry, hot, sandy expanse of land, but there is so there to be experienced. We all felt totally peaceful, calm, and amazed. Camels moved acorss the land as their owners, nomads to this day, search for good grazing land. Donkeys, which I never found particularly attractive before, have a certain charm on the dunes. Mice with long tails scurry around at night. We saw sand storms, then lightning and rain, then sand storms again. We played music with our guides and I learned some words in Berber. We learned how to dance Desert berber style and were up until two in the morning with our guides, who mostly grew up as nomads in the region.
For the first time in my life I saw what must have been the milkey way with the naked eye. I slept beneath the stars until a gust of wind blew my pillow from under me as I changed positions. Yes, I chased after my pillow in the middle of the night in the Sahara. Our guides laughed at that one for a while the next morning. I learned how to tie a turban. We met a nomad family and I played hide and go seek and did down dog with the kiddos.
Kayla Ankeny, SahajaSoma
*Vinyasa Yoga * Aerial Yoga * Acro Yoga JAMbassador * Dance * Therapeutic Massage* World Music * Capoeira*
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