Boo Hoo, Last Day in Morocco

Trip Start Sep 01, 2004
Trip End Apr 25, 2005

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Saturday, October 2, 2004

Hi All,

Thank you for all or your e mails and well wishes! We really enjoy going to the cafe and bringing up messages from home. Even though our travels are very exciting,we miss our friends and family.

I guess it's my turn to write the travel log this time. The most stressful thing that Don and I have to argue about is what pictures go on the log. I guess I had better get to typing if I want some say in the picture selection. Here is Morocco from my perspective.

Morocco is a very diverse country, in fact not unlike California with it's beaches, valleys, deserts, and mountains. Unfortunately we wish we had at least another week to spend here since we only just explored the central and eastern part. From Marrakech as a central location, we explored Essaouira on the west coast and then ventured to the High Atlas Mountains to the east.

We chose the small town of Imlil because it is popular with many trekkers, and climbers use it as a base to climb Jebel Toubkal. The area really reminded us of the Andies in Peru, although the lifestyles of the Berber people seems much more comfortable than the indigenous of Peru.

There are many streams which are supplied by either glacial run off or springs. Where ever there is a water source a terraced village grows from the mountain sides. The connected homes are built with either hand made clay or cement bricks, the roofs are made by laying 3-4 inch striped logs flat across the walls, every twenty four inches, then a criss crossed layer of what looked like bamboo tied with twine. That mix is covered with several layers of plastic, and then cement or clay. The flat roofs provide a nice area to dry food and hang out the clothes! Visiting construction sites is one of our favorite pass times. Since they can build a whole house with just 4 tools, I figure that Don has about a million unnecessary ones.

Below the homes the land is terraced for agriculture. An intricate system of irrigation ditches crisscross the mountain side. The result is a lush pattern of greens and yellows.
Above the homes on the seemingly steep barren slopes, goats and sheep are grazing under the watchful eye of the herdsman. How's that for a setting?

Most of the villages cannot be reached by car. In fact some of them are a good mile hike across the river and up the mountain so I guess they stay put in winter. It seemed as though all of the families had burros or mules. Almost no one had cars. There is a network of trails from village to village and into town. Within close proximity to town they did have electricity, and even satellite dishes which looked pretty funny.

It is harvest time, so things were buzzing. Apples, walnuts, and corn were the main crops, with the apples appearing to be their main commercial crop to sell at the markets in Marrakech. The Berber people are the happiest people that we have ever seen. They kick some butt when it comes to working, and everything is neat as a pin!

The kids are the cutest, and so happy and well behaved! We never heard a cry or a whine out of them. Our hotel over looked the town and when school got out one day it sounded like they had let loose a million laughing kids. About 5 of them were cracking up while holding onto the tail of a donkey and running down the road. Too cute!

We spent a day hiking up to the top of a pass. We have a new riddle that describes Don and I. Why did the stupid Americans climb the mountain? To see what was on the other side... Actually, more villages.

Our hotel here was very interesting and owned by a Frenchmen. Why do they make those funny low growling sounds? We had fun watching a French boxing match with him. At one point he pretended like he was going to pull his gun off of the wall and shoot the guy on the TV!

A thunder, lightning, and rain storm came in at night and washed dirt over the roads and gave us quite a show too. There was fresh snow on the high peaks when we left.

Well, after a long travel day, we are in Tangiers, and will be boarding the ferry tomorrow morning for Spain. Our flight out of London to Nairobi leaves on the 8th so we will spend a few days on the coast in Spain and then fly to London. We really want to come back here to explore the Sahara desert and more of the Atlas because we have just scratched the surface! Morocco is on the top of our list of favorites!

Love to all and we hope that everyone is well,

Don and Jo Ann

P.S. When I tried to upload some pictures to this log I couldnīt find a CDROM that worked, so I thought that I would wait for Spain. Well we are here now and they have the computers in a locked cabinet and I still canīt upload the pics. It is a bumber īcause I have some great ones. Check back here the next time we have picture attachments and hopefully I will have updated this log also.

Yesterday was a 12 hour travel day. There was some kind of accident involving our ferry when we left the port and we had to go back, then they put us on the slow boat, so a 45 minute ferry ride turned into a 6 hour ferry ride. Then Don decided that he wanted to get his money back, so joined the riotous crowd at the ticket booth for an hour for them to say too bad. I had to drag him away. He was explaining through one of the English speaking travelers that he had a contract and they didnīt fulfill the contract (they were advertising the Super Fast Ferry) so he wanted his money back. TOO FUNNY! It was only $30.

Weīre in Seville Spain now, so more about here later. It looks great though, and it is a nice break to have a little comfort.
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