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Marrakesh


Snake charmers


It´s official.  Morocco is really strange!

As we were on the train leaving Casablanca, we started heading more into the desert.  It wasn´t a sandy desert, but a rocky one.  We saw many fields of cactus, as well as many donkey carts and sheep and goats.  Every once in a while, we would spot a guy walking across the desert for no apparent reason at all.  When we got to Marrakesh, we checked into the hostel and headed to the main square.  That is where it got interesting.


Spices



Guy with Chicken on His Head



There were thousands of people in the square.  Acrobats, henna artists, fortune tellers, and snake charmers were all vying for our attention.  There were guys dressed in what looked like long nightgowns, bedroom slippers, and beanie hats (the traditional dress) had monkeys, owls, and other animals.  There were rows and rows of orange juice and dried fruit venders all trying to sell the same thing to the tourists.  The mosques were sounding the call to prayer (wierd just by itself) and the craftmen selling lamps, leather goods and spices were calling out their services.  All of this is going on while we were busy trying not to get run over by motor scooters, donkeys, and horses.

We were hungry, so we found a food stall that looked good and sat down.  This happened to be about 15 feet away from the carts with piping hot snails and sheep brains that were packed with locals.  We had tagines and it was so good.

The next day, we went to the market or souk as they call it here.  It was a maze of many small streets and we got lost.  I was fascinated by the carpets and lamps they sell here.


Carpet Shop



I almost got ran over by a donkey a couple of times.  I bought a jar of black soap.  It´s a very popular  olive oil soap that looks alot like Vaseline if it were black.  It´s made of argan oil.  Argan trees grow here and goats climb to the top of the trees and eat the nuts.  The tough outer shell is digested by the goats and then they poop the rest of the nut out.  Berber women (the desert people) then collect the nut and use the oil in skin care products.  The soap is actually really good.  In Morocco, I found out that I have to often get passed preconcieved ideas to really enjoy the place.

Today we went on a tour into the Atlas Mountains.  The highest peak in Africa is here.  We visited a Berber house where they made us a great breakfast and served us mint tea ( a Moroccan staple).  Afterwards, we went on a camel ride and hiked a mile up the mountain to a waterfall.  After enjoying the scenery, we had a wonderful lunch overlooking the mountains.

I´m not sure what tomorrow will bring, but I´m sure it will be just as wonderful and surprising as the last few days.

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