So the first thing that should be noted is that Morocco is a Third World country with many of the amenities and luxuries that we’ve grown accustomed to not being easily found and often not found at all.
For just one example here was the panorama visible outside
of my hotel room in
But who cares? You don’t come halfway around the world to nitpick over such stuff – or you shouldn’t. it’s all part of the fun and adventure of visiting somewhere very different than what you’re used to.
I knew before I arrived that
Even though it wasn’t really my speed somehow I felt compelled to buy the thing and decided I’d be a little wiser the next time around.
This is the capital and residence of the king (yes, king!). the city is a little more downbeat than hyper-hectic
The ruins of the southernmost Roman settlement:
The mausoleum of someone famous:
And the spectacle of seeing orange trees used as streetside decoration (they’re everywhere in the country):
Also by this time I’m noticing that cats are also everywhere and are a communal pet of sorts looked after by everyone. Interestingly, I hardly saw any dogs.
I didn’t come to
And after much debating and solemn bantering we’re on our
way to Volubilis, the ruins of a once-prosperous ancient Roman settlement about
an hour north of
Don’t miss the stork on the leftmost column. Like cats, storks are common in the region and these animals seem to really take it easy and hang out in their nests most of the day and pleasing themselves with the occasional and loud clack-clack-clack noise.
We make it to
The alleys are not just passageways to apartments and so on but are lined with countless stores offering a repeating menu of shoes, food, metalware and similar items. Seeing sooo many of these little stores carry one of a handful of the same kind of item made me wonder how any one of them could make a living. The stores themselves were packed to the ceiling with their specialty.
One must imagine while looking at these images that the whole of the experience includes a visceral experience that includes wild smells and the noises of a million people talking and jukeboxes playing Moroccan ditties (or American rap). My guide casually leans over one hole in the wall to reveal not another store but a classroom stuffed with kids!
All of them, and teacher, seemingly occupying an area fit
perhaps for a washing machine and dryer. Eventually the local guide takes me to
the tanneries which is what
Although I was told to prepare for an unprecedented shock to my nostrils it ended up being pretty mild on that regards. More of a nuisance were the leather goods peddlers doing their best to get me to buy locally made jackets and seat cushions. With a good deal of persistence and diplomacy on my part I was able to resist their efforts this time. Next on the itinerary was a spice-cum-drug stor. I noticed an odd jar some ways off that interested me more than the spices the owner was trying to get me interested.
To which with surprising nonchalance he tells me is opium poppies. “Good for nerves”, he says.
As one descends from these snowy altitudes the scenery gives way to an arid landscape. It probably says so right here on this sign except I’m not sure ;-)
And within a few hours drive, we’re in the real deal
The highlight of the trip would be a camel ride into the
The oddest thing about riding a camel into the desert could be the camel which is a very naughty, ornery animal that makes noises exactly as does Chewbacca; that is, if Chewbacca were gurgling and in a bad mood.
I too can look like a snobby desert dweller. See?
With the experience of staying a night out in the desert
under my belt the next day we head back towards the coast. But we’re a long
ways off from there. First we go through the
And on to Todras Gorge, a hundred-foot wide split in mountains as tall as the Empire state building.
Sedentary and unaccustomed to high altitudes though I am I chose to climb to the summit, a journey that took several very arduous hours. The summit was spectacular but in a way even more interesting would be a single nomad family that happened to live nearby in, literally, a cave.
Here a small member of the family plays while Dad carves out a new room
From the gorge we ride back over the mountains of the south Atlas range
And finally come across some greenery (here a an oil tree farm)
And on to the coastal city of
Once famed for its harvesting of sea mollusks that yielded purple dye it gave Hendrix the inspiration for his Purple Haze tune. It is also a city steeped in everything to do with fishing and the locals believe the color blue drives away the flies so it’s a predominant color in the city.
From Essaouira we headed to our final city destination of Marrakech but by then my camera’s battery had died L