Ziz Gorge, Morocco, October 4, 2007

Trip Start Sep 19, 2007
Trip End Jan 05, 2008

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Thursday, October 4, 2007

In the morning we continued on through Midelt and on to the first casbahs in the valley between the Middle and High Atlas ranges.  Here we also encountered our first beggars of a different sort than the monkeys - little French-speaking rug-rats repeating "Photo, dix dihram".   
What?  Ten dihrams?  That's more than a dollar.  I'm not paying that!  So I replied, "Deux dihram pour un photo."
"Non, dix dihram!" the oldest girl and group spokesperson insisted.
Gee, these kids know how to drive a really hard bargain.  They sure teach 'em young in Morocco.  Since everyone seems to want money to have a photo taken, I began looking at people and developing a system in my mind on how to rate people on their photogenic quality, including what I'd be willing to pay for their photos as such:
Cute little kids:                                         2 DH Photogenic
Wizened old men in turbans:        &nbs p;         5 DH Photogenic
Berber women with tattooed faces:       10 DH Photogenic
Touareg blue men in full regalia:        &nbs p;    Priceless 
I have often thought there are some types of landscapes that are almost unique in the world to the American West, particularly the canyon country of Utah and Arizona, but after seeing some of the gorges in central Morocco I've had to reconsider this view.  Ziz Gorge cuts and curves through the High Atlas range in over thirty miles of zigzags and goosenecks.  It's one of those magical high desert landscapes of almost psychedelically enhanced colors where the intense blue of the sky at high altitude appears to bestow a similar brightness to the reds and oranges of the canyon walls, the browns and beiges of mountains above them, and the greens of the oasis palms below while sharpening the contrast between them.

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