Middle Atlas Mountains, Morocco, October 3, 2007

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


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Flag of Morocco  ,
Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Morocco's topography is dominated by several mountain ranges running in a southwest to northeast direction, namely the Middle Atlas, High Atlas, and Anti-Atlas ranges, that separate the Sahara Desert from the relatively green and fertile Mediterranean climate zone in the north.  The Atlas Mountains are largely barren or shrub-covered and rocky because of the low rainfall levels that come mostly in the winter months.  However, parts of the northernmost range, the Middle Atlas, are still covered with cedar forest and in the region around Ifrane, Azrou, and Mischliffen have an almost alpine look about them, right down to the ski resorts on their slopes.  
These cedar forests are inhabited by begging Barbary Apes, the same creatures that live on the Rock of Gibraltar and are actually a species of macaque monkey.  My new macaque friends in the chilly green hills were quite fearless of me as I fed them pieces of apple while taking their photos.  I was very tempted to nab one to keep as a truck pet, or perhaps as a truck slave.  "Perhaps we could get a couple", I suggested.  "They could ride along in the wood rack, and we could teach them how to do basic truck chores like setting up tents, sweeping the floor, and flapping dishes.  I'm sure they wouldn't eat that much, and we could feed them the vegetable peelings."  Unfortunately, though, my idea didn't fly with Dave. 
The night was supposed to be our first bush camp, but the clean bathrooms and neat adobe-line buildings in traditional styles at a roadside campground called Complexe Touristique Timnay Inter-Cultures were more than we could resist.  This was the first of our many hotel campsites on this tour, places we set up our tents in the courtyard, parking lot, or grassy lawn within the walled compound of a hotel or inn and had access to a toilet and (sometimes) shower in the hotel.  The rumors about a licensed restaurant and bar at this Moroccan-Belgian joint venture were also enticing, but Gordy and I soon discovered to our disappointment that the bottle of wine we bought at the bar after our camp dinner was the last alcohol in the place until stocks could be replenished after Ramadan ended in a week. 
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