Sunday, April 10, 2016
Saturday, April 9, 2016
This is a trip arranged for just Judy and I through TripsToMorocco.com. It is a family owned business of two brothers and their father. Mohammed Aboud was our personal guide, interpreter, and driver. If you are interested in a customized trip, and don't want to be part of a large group, I would recommend this tour agency.
When most of us think of Morocco we think of the Sahara Desert, and riding camels. That was certainly a highlight of this trip. This is my camel, Carmen - who turned out to be a bit cantankerous: at the end of the trip he didn't want to kneel down to let me off because we were on a rocky road. He did get down, but when I was half way off he got up. Now when a camel gets up he starts with his back legs first, then his front. They are very tall, and the effect was to throw me off. I wasn't hurt except for a rather bad rope burn, scraping skin off my wrist. Note to self: don't get off a camel unless the camel handler is hold him (Said had gone back to help Judy). I have been told camels can spit and bite, but Carmen seemed to like people in general and walked with his head almost on Said's shoulder.
I was fascinated by camels. There are over a hundred words to refer to camels in Arabic. A camel can drink 7 gallons of water at one time, and then go without water for a month. They can lose 40% of their body weight and survive. Their big padded feet originally evolved, not to walk on sand, but snow. And a camel can outrun a horse.
Friday, April 8, 2016
While we were at the market in Erfoud, a relatively remote town with a burro parking lot, unpaved roads, blacksmiths, and the sale of spices, produce, refrigerated meats, etc. we bought traditional Berber turbans and tunics. I'm glad we did, not only because we really looked the part - to the point they all called me Ali Baba, but when we were on the camels on the return trip the wind was whipping the sand up. The turbans were the perfect protection.
The desert was beautiful, particularly at sunrise and sunset. It is worth getting up and being on the dunes by 6:30am.
Scarab Beetle Tracks
I had another Berber also named Said point out the tracks in the sand of scarab beetles, mice and fox.
The sand was so fine that it filled my shoes to the point my toes were cramped. Note to self: bring sandals.
Another highlight for me was visiting a nomadic Berber family, and having tea in their tent. The youngest girls wanted to show us their baby goats, and I also visited their kitchen. In addition to the tent they have small adobe houses throughout the desert that they migrate to following the availability of grassland and water.
Sunday, April 3, 2016
Photo taken by Judy