Trek, Day 1: Unexpected luxury at Bemaulne du Dades

There was a time when I traveled in crowded chicken buses, slept (or attempted to sleep) in sweltering, mold-covered youth hostels, and ate nothing but a banana and a Twix all day long (the banana was breakfast, the Twix was lunch and dinner).  It was a mode of travel that allowed me to get by on practically nothing (which is all I had), and it was a great way to meet people, practice my languages and build confidence as a traveler.  It was not, however, the most comfortable way to go. 
I couldn’t help but revel in the contrast between those experiences and the experience of traveling cross country in a private, air-conditioned SUV and pulling up to the four-star Hotel Xaluca Dades with valets to take my luggage, a gorgeous pool patio, and sweeping views.  Needless to say, we hit the pool as quickly as possible for a serious session of lounging.  It was the first time in days that we hadn’t been in 100+ degree weather, and it was glorious.

Mint tea is the thing here — people drink it at every occasion, and at for no occasion.  We carefully explained to Said that we didn’t drink tea and he thoughtfully talked to the hotel staff to ensure that they serve us just mint leaves with hot water.  I’m sure they all thought we were crazy, but we appreciated the gesture.

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