Are You Entertained?
Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
15Trip End Nov 21, 2006
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We passed through the small towns of Boumalne Dades and Kelaa Mgouna (the City of Roses). We also drove quickly through Ouarzazate-Morocco's movie making capital. Many big budget Hollywood flicks come to Ouarzazate to film (Lawrence of Arabia, Star Wars, Alexander and Kingdom of Heaven). Our only stop in Ouarzazate was the local spice shop. This felt suspiciously like a tourist trap, but since we rarely visited such places we went along. We were packed into a small room filled from floor to ceiling with jars of strange and bizarre smelling spices and oils. Two gentlemen in slightly shabby but official-looking lab coats went through their spiel about the amazing healing properties of the spices on sale
Argan oil is the Moroccan speciality, produced from the nuts of the argan tree that have been digested and pooped out by goats (goat poop oil). The goats actually climb the trees in order to eat the nuts and the digestive power of their stomachs soften the nuts' hard shell so that they can be turned into the flavourful oil that is apparently all the rage in Europe and now New York.
The grumpy bears also paid a visit to Ait Ben Haddou, a ruined former kasbah, whose most recent claim to fame is its use as a set for the film Gladiator (where Maximus was first sold into slavery and fought his first battle in the arena). In order to reach the kasbah you had to cross a small river. The local money maker was to charge tourists for a donkey ride over the river. We worked hard to try to avoid the "ride", but after seeing that the river did get deeper in parts we handed over our dirhams and benefited the local "businessmen" (i.e. village kids). The kasbah itself was very picturesque and beautiful. Are you entertained?