Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day Fourteen: Ouarzazate?! I Got Two Turntables and a Microphone!

After a lovely stay in Boumalne du Dadès, we made our way over to (relatively) uninspiring Ouarzazate. Once an important commercial intersection, the city (and its surrounding area) now serves as a film location. Our first night there was rather chill, a welcome break from the urgent pace we’ve been on. Our first full day in Ouarzazate had us visiting the Taourirt Kasbah close to the city center. Next, we had lunch and then went to the ksar (walled/fortified city) at Aït Benhaddou. A nice hike after a huge lunch, we climbed to the very top of the place and reached the agadir (a fortified lookout) and took in the sweeping views of green agricultural life to the left of us and the clay-colored desert mountains to the right. Boy, was it stunning and windy up there! We returned, hopped in the pool for a minute, and had dinner before we went off to explore the discotheque right next door.

Discotheque Byblos had to be the only place open in the entire city for any kind of nightlife. The club was in the hotel next door to ours marked only by a small sign surrounded by red Christmas lights. Entering Discotheque Byblos was entering 1977 during Disco’s heyday. Everything about the place seemed so antiquated that it bordered on kitschy (though not the intended aim I am sure). Twinkling lights covered the walls while a dusty disco ball hovered above reflecting its luminous rays. The old wooden bar was well lit in sharp contrast to the dark of the dance area with a just a handful of bottles dotted behind the bartender spaced far apart and companionless – this was no Broadway Bar.

When we entered the club it was empty save for the employees. The DJ must have assumed that we were American (at the very least, definitely not Moroccan) because as soon as we walked by the dance floor, the DJ busted some De La Soul. Within a few minutes some local Ouarzazites began to trickle in, including a few other Americans, coincidentally enough, also participating in a Fulbright-Morocco program (what are the odds, right?!). One of the first songs played after De La was a disco track that I’d never heard, but which quickly became my new favorite song. Ever. All I know about the song (other than its infections melody), is that the chorus went something like this: “D-I-S-C-O, D-I-S-C-Ohhhhhh-ooohhhhhh – the last set of “O’s” crescendo-ing into the singer describing a woman by “acronymically” using the letters in “disco.” It was wild! The music at the club consisted of your standard euro-inspired house but sprinkled with some familiar gems (a little MJ, Bob Marley, and even Dr. Dre). We danced the night away (Toni, Quiana, and Joel even rocked the electric slide like it was nobody’s business) and had some cool conversation with our fellow U of A Fulbrighters over some Heinekens. Overall, a delightful night. A free drink on me when I get back if you can name the “D-I-S-C-O” song.

Currently listening to: The Mighty Diamonds - Stand Up To Your Judgement


  1. I knew it was only a matter of time before you found your way to a club to dance the night away. I would expect nothing less from you. :-)

  2. and comparing bars in morocco to those of our overrated watering holes such as the broadway bar? com'n son! you can do better than that... but the images you sending back are amazing... feeling it. except that shirtless E-Lo sighting...