Natural springs bubbled up at Meski, the source of the River Ziz. The French Foreign Legion had constructed a swimming pool fed by the streams, enjoyed by the locals in hot weather. We were not sure whether the narrow track to the camp site would give our truck enough space to turn the tight corner down to the area under the palm trees but we were assured by the guardian that it could be done – and he was right.
We had stayed at Meski several times previously and visitors were always greeted enthusiastically like long lost friends. For the first half an hour or so after our arrival we were busy saying hello and shaking hands with everyone. I had brought with me a box of foam stickers which I handed out to four little children who had given us a “gift” of a camel woven out of grass. In no time at all I was being mobbed by 15 or 20 children, their little hands reaching towards my box of stickers. I soon discovered a handy thing – if I tried to take their photo they all ran away squealing.
We were also regularly visited by little cats, mewling pathetically for for food. You had to be very hard hearted to resist them. Fortunately, my heart was pretty tough, otherwise we would be overwhelmed by the skinny little creatures.
Meski was Hamid’s home village and the plan was for him to take us off into the desert to put our new truck (and its driver) through their paces. Hamid had been waiting for over a year for our plans to finally come to fruition and he was soon discussing with Tony where we should go. Hassan, his friend / cousin would also come on the trip. Hassan was an experienced tour leader and the two of them would travel in Hassan’s 4 x 4. I felt we were in safe hands for what would be a real adventure.