10.11.10

My Impressions of Morocco

Posted in Excerpts at 10:35 am by admin

           

A Kasbah in Morocco

We are finally back home and I have had some days to think about our trip and have some of the interesting things I wish to share.  I am writing two blogs, “My Impressions of Morocco” and “My Impressions of an Islamic Country.”

            I noticed as we left the north of Morocco, the countryside, houses and people changed.  Morocco is a large country, larger than California.  The North is very modern and the people dress and look almost European.  We traveled in the interior of Morocco and therefore missed one of its largest cities Casablanca, which is on it western coast. 

            While riding to our first city of Meknes, 300 miles North of Marrakech, I noticed many farms.  The temperature was extremely hot, higher than 109 F, yet there were many large farms.  They have adjusted to the dry dessert climate by building plastic enclosures for most of the crops, which hold in the moisture and prevented freezing on cold winter nights.  Many of these were tall (about 6 feet plus) plastic covered plats, some looked larger than a football field.  I soon saw a tear in the plastic and discovered that these are banana plantations.  Imagine, growing a tropical fruit in a dessert.  Many other fields were covered and the structures not as tall, just the height of the crops they were growing.  The houses in this area, although simple, were orderly and they seemed to be prospering.  Most of the structures were square, or rectangular, built of red clay blocks, with  very few, small windows.  I did not see much variation in the architecture. There were poorer neighborhoods, probably those of the farm workers, where the houses were smaller, and closer together.

            On our way to Marrakech we also saw the remains of several Kasbahs.  These were huge mud structures with very small windows, 17th century fortresses which housed the important men of the time.  One wing held his main wife, another housed his other wives, and a separate wing was for his concubines.  These structures have been damaged by rain and wind, but it is surprising how well they have held up.

After Marrakech we continued southeast to Erfoud, in the Sahara dessert.  Up to this point I had seen very few women dressed in Burkas, only about 3, all in the smaller towns we passed.  In Erfoud it was different.  Most of the women dressed completely in black, covering their head and face.  Even the younger children were not dresses as well or as colorfully as the children of the North.

From Erfoud we continued North, once again crossing the Atlas Mountains on our way to Fez.  Fez is one of the imperial cities where the King lives.  Our hotel was on a hill in hearing distance of several prayer towers.  Prayer towers are a common fixture in every town and village.  I will talk more about this in my next Blog.

On our way to Tangier we had lunch in the white city of Chefchaouen or Chaouen.  This is obviously a very prosperous city and beautiful to see.  Its houses are all white and any trim is painted blue.  Chaouen has approximately two hundred hotels and caters to summer European tourists. The farms are well kept and one notices many tractors and the farm houses are well maintained.  This region is noted for the production of cannabis.  Hashish is sold all over town.  On the road, men wave and try to get you to stop and purchase marijuana.  There are no “drug lords,’ just local farmers selling their product.   Then we went on to Tangier where we spent the night.  The next day we crossed the Mediterranean by ferry boat and rode our bikes to Portugal.  

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3 Responses to “My Impressions of Morocco”

  1. Jackie Evancho Says:

    I am just curious what will be next. Usually people think only about themselves but this could really change because we have such people who partake their knowledge and information – thank you!

  2. Farrens Says:

    I always thought about it and what if we think about this from other side? It is nice discussion topic.

  3. Danny Berdan Says:

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