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Day 9: Friday, April 8, 2022 – HAPPY BIRTHDAY

April 8th is the date that all my children were born. Our oldest daughter Elle was joined by triplet sisters, Amy, Donna, and Julie, on her 4th birthday. We have had lots of wonderful adventures, but our daughters have been the best adventure by far!!! Happy Birthday to all!!

As we leave the hotel, I am impressed with this decorative way to keep the water near the trees. Dig a trench and outline with rocks.

We are driving a lot today on the road to the Sahara. Not only are we going from big city to small villages and kasbahs, the topography is changing as well. The High Atlas Mountains divide the country north and south. The Mid Atlas mountains run from Fez and end in Marrakesh.

When one sees the mountains, the side facing the ocean and sea are more green. The other side of the mountain is dry with no plants. This must have helped aid in direction before GPS.

There are oak and juniper trees. Cedar is also here. Cypress and pine trees have been planted here but are not native. When one sees palm trees, that means that we are nearing the Sahara. Palm trees are commonly seen in the oases, and they produce dates.

When we stop for construction, they completely block off the road near a food stop.

Note the construction vehicle at the top of the hill.

EVERYBODY and their grandma gets out for the restroom, drinks, and coffee and to see beautiful mountain views.

This little minaret is about the size of a Barbie doll near the camera so it looks like it is part of the landscape. Very clever!

But when they remove the road blocks for only a minute, EVERYONE yells and runs to their cars.

It is cheaper to live in the country. There are no taxes. It is tranquil and quiet. However, in the higher elevations, it is cold in the winter. We see snow on the top of the mountains that is starting to melt.

Sellers take their wares to the road where tourists stop for wash rooms and pictures. They will move if business is slow.

We drove through the Ounela valley which means “here we are” in French. We stopped for lunch.

I taught these children my secret handshake. Then they pointed to my fanny pack. So … I gave them some … hand sanitizer. They probably never had that before.

Last three words of the Moroccan national anthem are: God, Homeland and King. They are written in light colored rocks on the side of the mountain.

Every 5 years, there are newly elected officials. The king still has a lot of power. He has many ministers that report to him. If they are not doing a good job, he can fire them.

In the 11th century, silver and spices were traded with people bringing items from the Sub-Saharan. They traded for grains and sugar.

There are three official Berber tribes: Shlouh (~10 subtribes) , Imazighen (~12 subtribes), and Ryaffa (~11 subtribes). Within those tribes, three types of Berber dialects are spoken which are as follows:

Shlough speaks Tachlhit which is greatly inflenced by Arabic. About 20 years ago, they had different words for things, but it has become easier to take on Arabic. If people have trouble communicating they do so in Arabic which is common to all and is taught in schools.

  • Shlouh – Tachlhit
    • Salam is hello
    • Shokran is thank you
  • Imazighen- Tamazight
    • Azul is hello
    • Tanmerrt: thank you
  • Ryaffa- Rifiya
    • Azul is hello
    • Netkkdach is thank you.

Omar is one of the Shlouh tribes. His subtribe is Shlouh which speaks Tachlhit. Shlouh is the biggest subtribe in the tribe so it is the name. Wow! These people are so smart linguistically!! Omar would call a friend from a different tribe and ask for the words. That is a foreign concept to Americans.

Ait Benhaddou

As we near the top of Ait Benhaddou, There are so many things for sale. I am surprised by all the fossils that I see.
These necklaces are HUGE. I learned that these were for camels to wear on special occasions.
What do you think?? The seller wanted me to buy it but I told him that it would make my luggage overweight.
This room was used as the prison in the movie, Gladiator.
Here is a list of movies that were filmed here.
We stopped at a carpet weaver. This woman is showing the techniques that they use. My back would ache after just a few minutes.
The “carpet master” has 300 women working for him. They work out of their homes and sell carpets that they make on consignment. This one is the final carpet from a woman. Each panel contains the pattern of each of her favorite quilt designs. I guess this means she is retiring.
Our rooms at the riad.
Here is the entrance to our road hotel. The water looks inviting but it is mountain water cold.

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