16DH can give you much more than 300

20.10 – Wednesday

We took off from Meknes around 12:00 and got on a bus to Moulay Idriss. Paying 8DH each seemed so little we were happy with whatever was there to get on. And of course there wasn’t much, but the bus seemed to be holding together as one piece and there was no sign of goats inside. Included in the price was also the entertainment. Not only the doors were open for most of the journey but also all you could hear was the voice of the guy in the door shouting: “Moulay Idriss! Moulay Idriss!”. There was no such thing as designated bus stop. Most of the time you would be just shouted at (and this way persuaded to get on) or a simple wave would do the trick and the bus would slow down. Getting on it while still in motion was very common. We were wondering whether it had any impact on the price of the ticket? The faster the bus goes, while you jump on it, the cheaper the fare?

After one hour we arrived in the town that looked a bit  as if someone glued the houses onto a pointy rock all around it. It reminded me of the little spice hills you see on the markets. We jumped off and left our bags in one of the local little hotels. Surprisingly the owner didn’t expect any payment for the favor. I realized then, that honest and genuine help feels strange in this country. And it was not even a week since we arrived in Morocco we started having that feeling. Very unfortunate, actually.

After leaving the heavy load we felt much better. For the price of 100DH (we tried haggling as much as we could, we thought we were getting better at it!), we were taken to the ruins. The deal was, that one hour later our taxi driver was supposed to come back and pick us up at the gate. And guess what? He didn’t. Some other driver (actually a group of men) insisted on taking us back to town for 40DH, which seemed odd and a little unfair towards our driver, whom by the way we haven’t payed yet. Even though it would have been a better deal for us, we decided to wait a bit longer. I was afraid that taxi mafia from Moulay Idriss is gonna get us and we will be in big trouble, so trying to avoid that we waited even longer. And sure enough they did try to steal us away from our driver, who arrived eventually! In the end I like to believe we did the right thing.

We had around 1.30 min to the next bus back to Meknes, so we decided to explore and go for a stroll. The village was so relaxed. No tourists. No hassle. Easy. We were getting closer and closer to “the real thing” we were thinking about all this time. Or at least so it seemed in our little, hopeful heads. As we were walking one of the streets we couldn’t avoid noticing one of the shop owner’s big smile! He looked so genuinely happy, we gave hes meat skewers a try. Even before we had a chance to walk up to his store, the boy, who was helping the old man, already wiped down the table and ran to the chair, where Rhys was about to sit down, and gave it a clean too. No later than 30 seconds the owner took our “order”. Well, he rather ordered us what we should order. There wasn’t really much to choose from anyway, that is why him coming over and talking to us was even more appreciated. We asked for a coffee and one tea. The old man said something to the little boy and he took off immediately. First he ran one direction and came back with Rhys’s drink. Then he headed quickly the other way and one minute later he was carrying a glass of hot mint tea for me. Soon after that a big portion of fresh round bread arrived alongside with a little plate of Moroccan blend of spices. Only a moment later we were enjoying what was plated in front of us. 5 meat skewers on grilled tomatoes with lots of fresh parsley and giant green olives. All that really did a trick for us. Rhys was delighted. I was SO hungry I have to admit I did try the dish. And it was beautiful! After the meal we bought fresh and still hot bread and payed 40DH for everything. Very content we headed back to the bus station.

PS. By the way, the ruins were good.

PS 2. Not to mention, that they were actually the reason for the whole trip! Glad we didn’t take a grand taxi from Meknes straight to the ruins and back. Turned out the journey itself and the town trumped pool old rocks by miles!

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