A City Built Yesterday
Trip Start May 01, 2001
44Trip End Jun 30, 2001
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After Tamelelt, I figure I'm ready to head up into the mountains to enjoy some beautiful landscapes for a change. The first destination would be obviously, Demnate, the first town in the mountains. But in Kelaa Sraghna, I was told that I can’t take a taxi there directly—I have to go to Attaouia first. Attaoia isn’t even on the map, so I’m expecting a dusty little junction in the middle of nowhere...
To my surprise, it ends up in a very sizeable town—it even has its own city taxis! But there’s something a bit unnatural about Attaouia. It looks like every single house has been built in the last 5 years—there aren’t any old buildings in sight anywhere
I stop for a tagine and a the very friendly cook sits down for a chat. He explains how Attaouia has been transformed from a tiny village to a magnet for Moroccan emigrants to build their houses here. Huge developments were set up so folks could buy plots of land with all the utilities for a very cheap price. Thus most folks from the surrounding villages who had immigrated abroad opted to build their houses here, instead of in their village of origin.
We go to talking about the life of these immigrants—how most of them spent 11 months out of the year in cramped little apartments in European slums working their asses off so they can then build 4 story castles here in Morocco where they will spend one month out of every year...
Not the life I’d want to live, that’s for sure...
We go to talking about the elections—as campaigners from various parties bustled about... It’s the most enlightened discussion I’ve ever had with a village tagine maker...
I hike around Attaouia’s scattered developments... finally do my clip at the edge of an olive grove and head on my way...