We were up bright and early for our trip to the Ourika Valley- I couldn't risk missing the bus again! We had made our own little group of hitchers with Charlotte and John and all did the trip together. It took just over 2 hours to get there, in a slow, rickety old bus, stopping off at an authentic Berber village.
Berber is the name given to indigenous Moroccans and in this village they were all living in mud houses. There were loads of children following us, asking for money which was a little awkward. We walked around a house and saw the different rooms and where they kept the animals and then were offered mint tea and bread. In these situations you can't really say no, so our whole mini bus had to sit and eat, and then tip the family. The tea and bread was alright, I just would have preferred it if it wasn't forced upon us!
Our next stop was at a village where they made argan oil. We had an 'explication' (read: explanation) of how the oil was made (something to do with goat poo) and two women were sitting on the floor crushing the nuts used in the process. We were then led to a room where we were shown a variety of products made from this oil and told to test all of them before being given the opportunity to pay tourist prices for them.
Finally, we got to our destination. From where we left the bus, we had an hours walk/ climb to see the waterfall that was the highlight of the trip. Bringing my walking boots was possibly the best bit of preparation for this trip. Our guide was amazing, he was like a monkey, running over all of the rocks and helping everyone across. There were so many tourists there that queues began to form when there were particularly dangerous or narrow parts. It was all quite nice with everyone helping each other across but there were always those who had no patience and would rush ahead, causing even more problems in the crossing. There were lots of photo opportunities as well as little stalls along the way. When we got to the top, the waterfall was pretty cool, the best picture would have been across the water, but it looked really difficult to get across there. Everyone else made it but I stayed on the safe side, being reminded of my experience in NZ where there were slippy rocks and I broke my camera and Grace fell in... Although, I needn't have bothered trying to stay dry as a huge queue had formed to get back over a very small river and John, who was also wearing boots, suggested just walking through it. So we did. Subsequently our feet got soaked, but it was quick and fun.
Back down at the bottom, it was time for lunch. We got ripped off here, paying too much for some rubbish food. We caused a few problems too by ordering salads as starters which came with tuna in. Zoe is vegetarian and I have my ridiculous fear, so we couldn't eat them, but try explaining that to a Moroccan waiter! I didn't actually notice the tuna at first, and consequently had to wash my mouth out quite thoroughly. We eventually got replacement omelettes but spent the rest of the meal in fear that they had spat in our food or something.
It was a two hour journey back to Marrakech and upon arrival we began to plan the rest of our time in Morocco. We got a new member of our little Hitch group, Claire an Australian exchange student, and began to enquire about a trip to the Sahara. Hitch had recommended both the hostel that we were staying at and their excursions so we thought that we'd be getting a good deal through them. Claire suggested that we have a look around, after being quoted 600DH for the trip and we immediately found someone offering us exactly the same for just 375DH. We then decided to do everything with this guy, booking the Sahara trip, a day excursion to the beach, a cooking lesson with this hostel owner's mum and moving there after we get back from the desert. We asked him about the trip which we had done today and his initial quote was almost half of what we paid, and his accommodation rates were half of what we were paying.
Feeling quite good about ourselves, we returned to the hostel and got a load of free mint tea. Although they were ripping us off, the hostel guys did seem really nice, so we tried to avoid talk of excursions. The rest of the night was spent chilling out on the terrace with other people staying in the hostel and some shisha.