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Morocco Part Seven

Atlas Mountain Pass overlook

Morocco Saturday

Today we return to Marrakesh in preparation for tomorrow’s departure. I ate breakfast early as I hoped to take some photos from the top of the ramparts. The view there is quite nice and I regret I didn’t find it sooner. I return from my photo-taking session and find everyone gathered with their luggage. There is confusion as to who will ride in what vans as is typical for a lot of large groups, particularly with some that have hearing problems.

The bus is fairly roomy and we drive through the Atlas mountains via hairpin curves and switchbacks. The view is fabulous and I wish we would stop so I could take photos. I have to content myself with photos through the window and hope the reflection is dimmed by my slight zoom. The road isn’t too bad although it has clearly washed out in places and road crews are busily repairing some sections. We meet a few other vehicles and occasionally one vehicle has to pull over for the other one to drive through.

Our first stop is for mint tea at the top of pass. The view here is fabulous but the photographers all take photos of a red and white streamer on a pole near an old van parked over the side and filled with bits of rock and tajines.  There is another small shop filled with more rocks, carved pigs—also a favorite with the photographers.

photography tutor in the mosque

Our next stop was a mosque that is being restored. Part of the roof has been put back on but the old doors which are twenty feet high are piled in the corner. The light inside is quite nice with so many arches and angles and patterns on the floor.

Lunch was next at the LaBergerie a French Moroccan restaurant in the middle of a garden filled with various succulents and cosmos and trees covered with tiny yellow fluffy ball flowers. Salad of potatoes, cabbage, boiled eggs, grated carrot, sliced seeded cucumbers, green peppers, and beets was  followed by a tajine of meatballs and poached eggs in a tomato-cumin sauce.

Our hotel in Marrakesch is quite fancy and I ended up with a suite complete with leather couch/chairs and writing table plus a balcony. After unloading our suitcases, we headed to the main square.

It is hard to describe the main square and souk other than totally congested and chaotic. Huge lines of horse carriages—palishes with some of the horses getting quite excited line one whole side of the square; long lines of people wait to get on the buses presumably to return home; the whole place smells of horse urine and manure. Crossing the street near the hotel was quite challenging—traffic  runs every which way, there are frequently four or five rows of traffic in space I would think would be adequate for three—there aren’t any lane markers and bicycles, motorcycles, cars, horse carriages all weave in and out—a few horns honk but on the whole everyone seems to be pretty polite and there are amazingly no accidents.

The souk is filled with story-tellers, vendors selling orange juice from huge heaps of oranges, huge bags of spices and figs and nugs with each vendor offering a taste of his wares, strangely garbed men and women in red and green hats with ball fringe and wearing shoulder straps of bronze bowls wander about the crowd. I take a few photos but after buying two pashmina scarves, I head back to the hotel fo wait for supper.

Tomorrow will be another long day.

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