Er Rachidia and a Shameless Plug
If you like middle of the road, backwater towns, you’d love Er Rachidia. Now I’m not complaining, on the contrary, I did like Er Rachidia. It had all the infrastructure that makes for a decent stopover. It was low key in a rather pleasant and undemanding kind of way, the town was billiard table flat and on a scale small enough to navigate on foot without breaking into the slightest of sweats (all to easy to do in the Moroccan lowlands), there were internet cafes, banks, enough budget guesthouses to engender some healthy competition, eateries and salons de the a plenty, and, best of all, it had a bar. This place really was an oasis in the desert. As I said, I was quite struck on Er Rachidia, and that was even before we met its inhabitants.
Sadly, our stay in the oasis was to be brief. We pitched up after dark and after a quick kefta brochette – which is a large, rough and ready burger-and-bap kind of affair – we hit the hay. The following morning would see our early departure and hopefully the completion our intended journey southwest and into the Sahara Desert.
Warning: Shameless Plug Alert
For our one night in Er Rachidia we stayed at Hotel Al Ansar – a budget guest house just a stones throw from the main bus station. We chose it because it was close to the station and I needed to take a dump. Too much info, maybe. Now, never before have I gone into detail about hotel names etc, but this place is noteworthy, and for good reason, too. And no, I’m not pimping out ubertramp.com for free digs – I do have some integrity, I’ll have you know.
Over the last three years alone I’ve spent more time in budget flophouses than I have out of them, and I can honestly say – hand on heart – that Majid, and the rest of his family whom helped run the Al Ansar guesthouse, were among the most incredibly kind and helpful people I have had the pleasure to meet in a very long time. From the moment we stepped into the place they made us feel as if we had just dropped by on old friends. I could go on, but that would even get me reaching for the bucket. In any event, my point is this: Should you find yourselves overnighting in Er Rachidia at any time in the future, you could do a lot worse than stay at the Hotel Al Ansar – failing that, you could just call in and help Majid with his latest round of Suduko. And I’m being deadly serious there – he really does need help with them. Two 9s on the same row…I mean c’mon, really
End of Shameless Plug Alert.