My first step on the national road, l found a little seahorse, totally preserved and dried up by the sun. I examined it, it still has those little rough edges. I wondered how it arrived there as the port is quite far away. A seahorse, I was thrilled. That was my omen: That my trip is going to be dream-like. A seahorse!
Anyways, the road was fine, full of cars, trucks, motorbikes, not a single walker. Deep down I was expecting the worse to happen. A girl by herself on a road. But this didn't discourage me. After all, I knew it is going to be so. The only issue is that I was afraid to take my phone out of my pack and check the map to verify if I am still on track as I passed by many roads, to do the counts to know how much more road ahead. The only helpful thing is the marking of the remaining distance to Essaouira. That helped do the counts. To arrive to Tamraght, my first stop, I had 16Km. Following my pace, I did 2Km per 30min. After a while I passed by Inza, without stopping. I continued to Aourir.
Aourir, the city of bananas. I passed by shops full of banana from roof to bottom, drooling over them like a minion at banana sight. The monkey in me could not resist, so I stopped to have some of those small overly-sweet tasty bananas and of course pack some more for snacks. The seller was a heavily-wrinkled old man, wearing a faded brownish djellaba and a knitted hat. I salam'ed him and I asked him for the price of 1kg without really caring about his answer, yet it is the custom in here; asking before buying. He rose from his chair and started looking for his knife to cut me some from those tens of hanging banana branches. I watched his hands, dirty. not disgustingly dirty, but proudly dirty, wrinkled, sun-burnt in here and there with swollen fingers, because of the cold I guess. I told him that whomever passes by Aourir without stopping to taste Aourir's ripe bananas has eventually and unfortunately lost a lot; their life is senseless. His eye lit up and he granted me with a big smile from a nearly toothless mouth and said in Berber-accented Arabic "ayah" meaning yes. He then asked me if I spoke some Berber, I shyly said "Imik s'mik" meaning a little. Honestly, I only know a few.
Upon resuming the walking, I asked some locals about how many hours/Km to arrive to Tamraght, one of them said that I have about 5Km to go. Off I went again.