Friday, July 28, 2017

17 يوم - Ouarzazate إلى Cascades d'Ouzoud

Morning traffic!

In the background, on the right, is where Babel (with Brad Pitt) was filmed.
It isn't a very good movie but, before finding out it was filmed here, I was thinking about this film as we were driving, hoping that some shepard's son didn't get their hands on a gun.

Ouarzazate is nicknamed 'the door to the desert', but prides itself on its connection with famous films.
In fact, our waiter last night in the hotel worked on films with both Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom.  

Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, Gladiator, and some episodes of Game of Thrones were shot here in Ouarzazate, just to name a few (there is a five star hotel nearby to cater to the stars when they are in town).

Kasbah Ait Benhaddou is where Gladiator was filmed, found on the way to Marrakesh, just outside the city.

This kasbah isn't famous, but it could be!  
Why not this one?

Never mind, not such a great welcoming party, we will just keep on moving...

Moroccans don't want to keep up with repairs on this old castle, they were not a fan of the ruler.

An all-women cooperative showed us how argan oil is made, and all of the uses for it.

Hmmmm, wrong turn.

This is better...

Our itinerary included (per my request) a trip to Cascades d'Ouzoud.  
Lonely Planet, like all guidebooks, talks it up, "the Oued Ouzoud drops 110m into the canyon of Oued el-Abid in three-tiered waterfalls, and the view only gets better as you descend into the cool of the canyon, past the late-afternoon rainbow mists to the pools at its base."
Wow, sounds great, right?

Yeah, not so much.

Filled with make-shift camps and an abundance of people, it is hot and littered and just plain terrible.

Moroccans sure love their tajins, we, on the other hand, have had enough, quite possibly for a lifetime.  Which is why we basically stopped eating a day or two ago.

So, if you are looking for what is in the image, do not go here.
This is not an understatement. 

The only good thing about Cascades d'Ouzoud is Le Sévan Pizzeria.  Owned by a French couple, who have lived here for eleven years and have been traveling here for 18, they opened their restaurant just 3 months ago, and are leaving in 2 months, after summer.  They are over the prices for foreigners (which includes themselves so they have to shop in a different town), how difficult it has been for them to open a hotel (they haven't been able to obtain a permit because they want to do the work themselves and not hire Moroccans), how burdensome it is for them to even get a sign directing people to the restaurant, and how dirty the city has become (apparently it was once a mecca for nature travel).  
They are thinking they will move to Latin America, or perhaps the wife's home country of Armenia.  We gained so much insight about the country from talking to this couple.
When most Moroccans we have encountered have scoffed at a $5 tip, this couple was so happy and so grateful.

Their homemade ice cream was incredible- one scoop of vanilla ice cream, the other citron sorbet.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry that you were misled about Ouarzazate. But how fortunate that you found something good to write about. Funny it's pizza and ice cream.

    What I believe about travel is we wander to find what we like and do not like. You now know that this will not be a place to return to. That's great. That said, you have captured some amazing images. Thank you for sharing them.


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