After a tough day travelling we arrived at the camp site at the pools of the Source Bleu de Meski. We first came to Meski in 2012 when we were travelling in a group with Desert Detours and we had returned a couple of times since. Meski was the home of Hamid Haddani who was the long suffering Moroccan representative for Desert Detours – we had spent many weeks travelling with Hamid and his boss, Ray, over the years. Previous blogs had praised Hamid’s field kitchen cooking skills. Ray, was always poking fun at Hamid and his Berber background and one day he asked Hamid whether he had any donkeys at home. Hamid told Ray he had just one donkey – “and we call him Ray”, he quietly added.
The following morning we took a refreshing morning bathe in the pool – it resembled river bathing rather than a chlorinated pool. The water was very clear, there were some fish and the pool edges a were a bit slimey, it was a good experience. Later in the morning the famous Hamid appeared, offering us any help we needed. We were getting low on fresh fruit and vegetables so Hamid took us on the bus to the market.
The bus ride cost 25p and took us 6k along the road to an open air market where we bought potatoes, bananas, peas in the pod, melon, oranges and apples, total cost about £3. The quantities we were trying to purchase were too small to register on their balance scales so the stallholder, or a helpful shopper, added extra produce to our purchase to reach the minimum weight. That is why we came back with three times as much produce as we could possibly eat.
The pool had been built by the French Foreign Legion and was owned and run by the the community. There was a row of souvenir shops and each owner came over for a daily chat, inviting us into their shop for tea and a spending spree. We were happy to buy what we could, nothing was a lot of money – nor was the quality wonderful.
Hamid asked us to go to his house for breakfast after sunset when Ramadan ended for the day. We were touched at his invitation and it would have been nice to meet his wife and two little boys. But we said no as it would have been too late for us to eat and we felt he may have asked us just out of politeness. The next day Hamid took us for a walk in the shade of the palmerie, walking by the springs. He said the water was unusually low that year, extra wells had been dug to irrigate the fields and pumps powered using a single cylinder Lister diesel, at least forty years old – said an excited Tony.