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Day 14: Wednesday, April 13, 2022 – Lunch on the Mountain

Rob needed to do some laundry. He brought a line to hang them up near our room. There is no worry that they will dry. The only worry is all the birds that we hear. This might be a good use of a scarecrow!!

Back on the bus for a long day of driving. We go up, up, up. I never knew that Morocco was so mountainous. Bus riding gives us a chance to see things, nap, ask questions, cull our pictures or even write blogs!!

In the last three years of high school, Moroccan students pick a direction. They can change their direction but it will take a total of three years. They attend school from first week of September to the middle of June.

We came across a flock of camels. It is called a caravan when they follow each other in a line.
Why did the camel cross the road? To get to the other side.

Many people that have moved to the city come back to their ancestral homes for the holidays. Some have made a lot of money especially in food markets. They will build a home for the remainder of the family to live in and attend to the land and animals.

Mohammed is our guide. What an unusual name!!! Ha We learned that first-born males are often named Mohammed. This is a tradition and is not required by the Muslim religion. (Fatima is the traditional name for a first-born daughter.) Our guide, Omar, did not follow this tradition.

We walked through the market in the small town of Tafraout. They don’t get many tourists and their clothing is more traditional.

Their produce is piled high and the market is full of buyers.
Outside of the covered market, there are animals for sale. Omar says that when you make a purchase, you look at the teeth.

Omar thought that I was teasing him but I told him that I have honestly never looked in the mouth of a goat. He told me that it was like the mouth of a cow. I told him, to be honest, I have never looked into the mouth of a cow either.

Anyway, they start out with two teeth and end up with six. If the six are white and are the same level, the goat is over six years old which makes that goat old. He would not be a good purchase. They only live about ten years.

Tafraout ore is dated Cambrian about 500 million years ago. Surrounded by mountains, this is the only place to have these specific type of rocks.

I don’t know if these were the type of rocks about which Mohammed spoke but they certainly were ones that I had never seen before. They look more like green leaves.

Berbers are the majority here. Berbers could be called the indigenous first people of Morocco as they have inhabited this land for more than 6,000 years. They have found prehistoric drawings from the neolithic period. Berbers will settle where there is water.

Different clans will speak different languages in different villages. Every village has a mosque, school, and hamman built by the villagers There is a mosque in every village. Arabs brought Islam to Morocco. Judaism was prominent before Muslims came. Some of the Berbers were Jewish and the religion of the other Berbers is unknown … at least to Mohammed!

Based on agriculture in the past where the land was respected and everything used, today there is a lot of waste. This sounds so familiar.

Rocks painted blue in 1984 by the Belgian artist Jean Vérame can be seen at one of our leg-stretching stops. He did it because he was inspired by nature. G Adventures doesn’t support his work nor stop there since it actually destroys nature.

When we see a home with its windows closed, that means that they aren’t there. It used to be that way in the USA, but today you want your house to look like someone is home. They don’t worry about crime here in the mountains.

Our hotel is in Tafraout with an elevation of 3,278 ft. Then we rode the bus to Gdourt with an elevation of 3,950 feet.

Gdourt is the small town where we have lunch with a local family. Rashid is our host. He has two children. Said was eight, and I taught him some children’s games and played with him.

A children’s game played by Moroccans is called CACHE CACHE which is the French word for hiding place. It is like hide and seek and resembles the game of Kick the Can. They play lots of soccer. They also play a game where they throw rocks at a triangle or anything else. There are so many rocks!!

Rashid may be using a cane but he was hard to keep up with.
Here is the dining room. We recline on comfortable pillows.
Rashid’s wife cooks chicken Tajine, and Rashid serves the food. We have chicken couscous with vegetables. It was followed by mint tea.
A room with a view.
We went up to the terrace roof. Omar, our G Adventures Guide, Rashid, our host, Brenda, inquiring tourist, and  Mohammed, our local guide.

We had a joke about Mohammed. He would say, “Ask me anything.” And when we did in the bus, he would say that he couldn’t hear us. He professed to having hearing problems!! He didn’t know how to use the microphone well so we had a hard time hearing HIM!!

He did teach me one word and was surprised that I didn’t know it. I have never ever heard of this English word. It turns out that it is a British word. I laughed because I thought that he was making a joke that this food is “moreish”.

Moreish means that it is so good that I want more. Here is how it is used in a sentence, “This is moreish.” Not “I want moreish.”

This town called Aguerd-Oudad was named Chapeau Napoleon or Napoleon’s hat by the French in 1934.

Aziz Akhannouch, the prime minister, is the richest man in Morocco and one of the richest in Africa. One of his many businesses is the ubiquitous Afriquia gas stations. He is from Aguerd-Oudad and it is struggling. Mohammed feels that he should do more to help his town and Morocco.

Since Trafout is off the beaten path, they don’t get many tourists and even moreso due to Covid. The local economy is suffering. This town was very friendly and many shopkeepers wanted to practice English.

Several shopkeepers would walk around with flyers of which we would take a picture in order for them to save on that expense. Some would ride bikes or motorcycles to invite us to come to their shop or their restaurant. I spoke a Berber greeting to one man named Ali. He found it amusing. I told him that I was Berber. Again he laughed. We are often greeted with the comment, “I am Berber.” When I told another man that, he said Ahh. You must be from the lost aboriginal tribe found in America. Touche!!

Ali was sad that we already had dinner plans and were leaving the next day but we would try to come for dessert. It was a ten-minute walk down lonely streets. While on the way, a young girl full of smiles ran out of the shop wanting to hug me. I gave her a kiss on both cheeks and she ran back in.

We had no time to lose before he closed. We made it just in time. In fact, Ali corralled us on his bike. He recognized us and was thrilled that we came to his home. We had oranges and cake on the rooftop.

On our return, a dog didn’t just follow us; he actually led us back to our hotel.

Thought for the day: There is no such thing as a bad day. A good day is a good day and a bad day produces good stories.

Second thought of the day: There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

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