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Morocco Part Five

Morocco Thursday

Tajine and The Atlas Mountains overlook

Today was our free day and as hoped, the weather was absolutely perfect. I think I was the first one to breakfast and thoroughly enjoyed three cups of very nice coffee and conversation with one of the photographers. After breakfast, I wandered down toward the market. I was rather fearful of getting lost, even with a map and so I kept track of the number of turns I made. The strawberry cart man was on the corner, smoking a cigarette while carefully selecting strawberries to arrange in plastic bowls. The strawberries here are a deep dark red and perfectly ripe, not squishy, and wonderfully tasty.

I sat on a bench outside the ramparts and did some line drawings of people as they walked by. I tried to find a way up onto the ramparts but was unsuccessful.  The stork preened himself in the nest over the roof-top restaurant. Hundreds of bicycles were parked in a corner of the street; a few mopeds kept them company. A children’s park overgrown with weeds was on the outside of the ramparts and I sat and drew the ramparts. Several old men sat on benches behind me and, although I do not understand any Arabic, I suspect they were solving the world’s problems. I walked back to the hotel to warm up a bit, and then walked down another street and found another bench to sketch from.

Our tutor did a fairly extensive tutorial near the swimming pool, and I headed off to find yet another bench and so some more drawing. Around three, I came back to my room, ate an orange and apple and took a nap.

On one of my perambulations, I discovered a small book store. There were some very well thumbed through postcards—I bought three; and then perused the offerings. All the books were faced with the binding to the right rather than the left. There were textbooks, cook-books, and what must have been classics as they were hard-bound with fancy gold labels—all in Cyrillic alphabet. Some of the books had both French and Arabic; some also included English. It was tempting to buy a cook-book that included all three languages—but I think I am very short on return luggage space.

Several men stopped me on the street—to practice their French first—and then when they discovered I was American—to practice their English. One was a tutor in English and French and had taught all over the world. He asked me what I like best about Morocco—and perhaps I was a bit naughty, because I blurted out something about their beautiful smiles—and he only had three or four teeth!

I took more photos at that golden time of the day when the light is just perfect in the late afternoon—even though there are strong shadows—the light is so even, it seems magical. I’ve been here not quite a week and nearly every day, the light takes on that golden sheen. I filled one 2 GB card, sat down to change it out, took some surreptitious photos of women—and then after a bit, began to feel like I was exploiting them. And so I put away my camera and walked back to the hotel quite ready for supper—and to go home.

I had dinner with David and Jill—he owned a boat-building business in England and she was a makeup artist for movies. It was an enjoyable evening with all of us laughing at the vagaries of the hotel cats—one of whom was in heat and the others quite willing to participate in connubial bliss.

Tomorrow we go to the pottery—it’s supposed to be a bit of rough climbing/walking—and I wonder how different it will look from the Mexican pottery shops.

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