Would you ever imagine a hailstorm in the middle of the desert? Think again...
Marocco, 27 April 2016I am attracted to the stories. When i am on a trip, nothing makes a better story than something unexpected.
The fun of traveling to me is not in the multiple destinations i'll reach, but in the little adventures and unpredictable events i encounter on my way.
There is a motto i learned from the crazy Adventurist's MongolRally: "If nothing goes wrong, then everything has gone wrong". I'll give you an example.
Last year i visited Marocco. It was the first time i've seen the dunes of the desert and got in contact with a culture so different to the ones i am used to.
When i got back from that trip, the greatest story at dinner with my nephews was about the hailstorm that cought us in the middle of a tour in the Sahara.
To enjoy the most of Marocco, i booked a cheap three days tour. I guess that is a quite popular choice. In it was also contemplated a night out in the desert.
We arrived in Merzouga on a nice afternoon, a bit stormy on the horizon, but we didn't worry too much about it.
Our bags had to stay in the bus, so we could carry just a few necessary things to spend out the night.
They made us cover our heads with scarves to protect us against the heat of the sun, and then we hoped on dromedaries to go for a ride into the desert, to the campsite we would have spent the night in.
Riding the back of a dromedary felt pretty weird and uncomfortable (i still feel guilty about this i must say, poor animals, i will not take advantage of animals for tours ever again), but everybody was excited about the new experience, plus the sunburnt colors of the endless dunes were giving such a great scenery for pictures.
Everything was fun and perfect, until bricks of hail as big as nuts started landing on our heads.
Our camels got nervous and unsaddled all the tourists, than gathered in small groups to shield each other from the storm leaving us humans alone, standing in the middle of the desert without a clou on where to go or what to do, under the pouring hail.
We were terrified, lost in the desert, with flip flops of course at our feet, and those cold rocks where aiming straight on our heads, backs and most painfully the toes.
We finally got the mind presence to grab the thick sheets of wool that our camels were carrying to use them as protection against the stoning.
When the storm softened, a berber kid came to recollect us. We reached the campsite we were headed to walking on the icy-cold hail. It was actually more like a mix of ice cubes and camel shit. As long as we were going in the right direction, we did not argue about it.
By the time we arrived at destination we were soaking wet to our bones, and the sun was going down.
We soon found out that the desert at night is one cold place!
We changed our clothes quickly with what we were able to take with us and rested all together in one tent.
At night we had dinner in what at that point seemed to be a big and cozy tent, all lit by candles which added a special romantic flavor.
Chicken tajin and live berber music was the menu. And it was good.
The fear was gone and even the girls started relaxing. We enjoyed and cherished that moment smiling and dancing with the local guys.
The day after nobody dared to go back on the camels, even if it was sunny with no cloud in sight. We walked it back.
The most fun to me was in that event, everything else was just a regular trip to an amazing place, but with no story to make it feel real and interesting (especially to my demanding nephews).
It is the stuff that gets more stuck in your memories, and when you think of it after a while, even if it was scary, you can't help but laugh about it.
So every time i travel i welcome the unexpected, because i know that in the end that is going to make the difference between a good vacation and a great experience.