Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On the Marrakech Express...

We're back in Marrakech having successfully crossed the High Atlas from south to north on the other pass, the Tizi-n-Test. (We were on the Tizi-n-Tichka pass last the snow...). No snow on this one although apparently the road was closed a few days ago due to rock falls. We had an excellent driver, Omar, who lives in a village in the pass, and is very familiar with the road. He took it nice and slow so that Lloyd could take as many pictures as he wanted. Here are a few...

 We stopped for tea at the summit (2100 m)....a welcome break. An itinerant trader showed us his wares...he was a pleasant gentleman who told us in a mixture of French and English that he is from Zagora (in the Sahara) and walks through the mountains from village to village buying up antiquities, and could he show them to to us? (Of course, no pressure, just look!!) Lloyd was quite taken with a couple pieces of silver...a hatchet type of gadget to chip big cubes of sugar, and a pendant. They started negotiations and I stayed right out of it. An observer only! We thought we would get away without buying because he refused Lloyd's final offer, and then as we started getting into the van, he came over with the pieces, and Lloyd handed over the cash. The man just couldn't let that sale disappear down the road.

We also had a stop at the Tin Mal mosque which was built in the 12th C.

It's been under restoration since 1990 and is a UNESCO heritage site. It's one of the few religious buildings open to non-Muslims, probably because no services are held here, and won't be until the roof is finished.

Here I am in my multicultural look...a Canadian of British heritage wearing Moroccan pants (handwoven cotton), Indian cotton indigo-dyed tunic, and Kashmiri shawl...and comfortable walking shoes!!

We've been here 10 days now, and I'm not feeling as shell-shocked! Now back in Marrakech for a third actually feels familiar! Some observations...In the cities (Taroudant and Marrakech) women push their babies in strollers whereas in the villages, babies are strapped to their backs. In the cities, faces are mostly uncovered but not so in the the latter, being completely covered (veiled) is more common. Hair is almost always covered usually with beautiful scarves, but it's also not unusual to see younger women in Marrakech without scarves.

Remember that song about the Marrakech Express? Well, it's become quite the ear worm for me, so now I'm passing it along to you!  We're here for three nights at the Riad Alwachma  

A final view from the pass: This reminded us of the southern interior of BC, specifically north of Cache Creek or around Keremeos.

1 comment:

  1. Joanne C, ArmstrongJanuary 30, 2015 at 1:30 AM

    Interesting treks out into the wilds - we didn't get to the High Atlas at all, but there was one long day driving through the mid-Atlas to Marrakech from Fez, the last hour or two of which involved our driver nursing along the bus with what turned out to be a dying fuel pump. You're right, lots of the areas do look like Cache Creek, but we don't have those goats that climb the trees. In Marrakech, we did make a point of having a G&T at La Mamounia hotel, apparently a favorite destination for Winston Churchill for relaxing and painting. According to this week's news, he consumed legendary quantities of champagne - we didn't try to compete there. I did bring back a few small items where purchase prices were negotiated - not a favorite activity, but like you, I discovered that the vendors would rather have a sale than no sale when my upper limit was made clear.