We left the tranquility of our riad for 8 hours of driving through the Atlas mountains.
The city of Ifran was built in 1923 by the French, after they took the country, in order to mimic the comforts of home. At an elevation of 1,665 meters it does get snow, and does have a ski resort.
Barbary macaques are protected now, as a result of their decline due to poaching, habitat loss and human handouts (we were requested to buy peanuts but we did not partake). These little guys are the only native primates north of the Sahara; conservationists predict that the species will be gone within the decade.
Unfortunately, due to illegal feeding, the macaques hang out too close to the road within the forest, I am sure they are known to get run over as well.
It is strange to see people in uniform in such a casual state, shoes off, smoking cigarettes, littering...
We stopped at a typical tourist rest stop with ridiculously expensive tajin, fly bread and beer. (Fly bread is the Moroccan bread served at every meal. It is an endearing term that Eric and I coined, much like the Moroccan Shakedown, because the bread always has flies crawling all over it, in and out of all the nooks and crannies.)
This is my first (and last) beer in Morocco. It is illegal for Moroccans to drink and so can be difficult to find. I suppose the government hinders alcohol consumption by making the beer unpalatable.
Cranes often make their homes at the top of minarets, the highest point they can find.
It is illegal to not wear a seat belt in Morocco but in remote areas where there is no transportation (places that taxis won't even go) police let it slide.
Before coming to Morocco I never knew that adobe kasbahs such as this one are current homes for Moroccans, found all over Morocco.
They are beautiful.
Each one of these caves behind me, blacked by centuries of use, are homes to nomads. Each family passes down their cave to the next generation. It usually includes two areas, one for living and the other for the livestock.
We finally made it to Tamtetoucht, were we will be staying for the night.
(Can you believe that Eric is here?!)
Ummm, either can Eric.
Poor Eric got sick, and pretty soon, he will be sleeping with the fishes. Well, that is if he stays here for a year. In a few months the dam, located just a few km downstream will be complete and Kasbah Les Amis will be underwater. The owner, who is in his 50s and owns the hotel with his brothers, doesn't know what he is going to do but is not mad about it because it will help people have more access to water. Morocco is a different world.
Fly bread and a salad, followed by tajin.
I should not be eating salad, raw vegetables washed in who knows what water, but I feel too guilty to reject.
Bon Appétit et bonne chance.