Cedar Forests, Green Tiles, Pointy Rooftops
Trip Start Sep 16, 2006
69Trip End Sep 16, 2007
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Our spirits are getting better, despite the incessant harassment from men all day- maybe we feel encouraged because we are getting closer to Sapin and back to a different, less guarded, less agressive experience. (We aren't softies or easily offended bear in mind- but the Moroccan way, or the way of the Moroccan men in partular, is unlike any other ocuntry I have ever visited).
Red cliffs, shrubs, bright blue skies and small village clusters here and there. We saw so many furry donkeys today along the road. The cliffs and ranges are so deceiving- you really are never 'alone', someone is always lurking behind a rock or under a shrub, watching you
The Rif mountain range North of here is where Morocco's greatest export is grown- Hashish. We plan to avoid this area at all cost.
We passed through the village of Mrirt- which was so bustling with activity it was a maze of donkeys, carts, people, and colorful tables... sellers of this and that- the weekly Souq market day was here, with loads of loudspeakers and sheep and other animals being herded for sale.
We stopped at bright and uber organized fruit stand to get some for the road. The shop keeper called all his friends over, laughed and (we think) made lots of good-hearted jokes-at-our-expense, and I asked him if I could take a photo of his stand- something I never do. I didn't expect the response I got... He was really into it! He posed for pictures holding the paintings of his buddy, and hugged Anna, and posed alone and then again with Anna
Many a vista, high-point later, we arrived in the mountain, Berber town Azrou- a city situated in one of Morocco's last, endangered cedar forest reserves. So neat!! The forests are home to little monkeys.
Outside of town, we were latched onto by a show-off playboy type of 'cyclist', on an old 70's bike, who escorted us into town and offered to 'help' us-- because he felt that as helpless visitors, he didn't want us to be taken advantage of. We explained that we're fine, and have no problems with anyone 'taking advantage' of us. After he gave us his email and answered his cell phone several times all playboy style, he told us that we should meet him at 9am the next day to... give him a present- our riding shorts! An odd request indeed, sort of unbelievable-- but he explained that we must have spares, and that we really need to give him at least one. Hmmm. We rolled our eyes and said 'no thanks' and left- disappointed that yet another encounter and seeming 'friendship' was just a cheezy way to try to get something from us. Aaaah, life in Morocco indeed.
Later in town a guy in newer silvery car followed us driving around the city, propositioning us in Darija and French. The 'how much' and 'money money' came up and we couldn't shake him. Why did he think we were prostitutes? He kept yelling that he has lots of money... We looked really dingy and were dressed super normal and non sexy. Spitting a loogie at his car made him finally leave- though I was excited to use the term 'SHAME ON YOU' in Darija, really loudly in front of older ladies nearby, since that is the greatest 'shame' one can experience is being 'shamed' in public. I pity the poor women in this culture- having to live with this kind of condescending, disrespectful treatment day to day. Women in this culture are either completely invisible and disregarded as having a brain, OR they are on total display and sexualized for every normal action. You can't win! Sad and true. Wait, I just remembered we are in a Muslim MONARCHY here...
It's beautiful and cold here in Azrou. The city has a large, craggly rock cliff formation in the center, which provides really neat sunset views and currently dons a larger-than-life king's crown for the holidays- reminding us Morocco is in fact a religious monarchy. It will be interesting and refreshing to be in a non Catholic country for the holidays...