Eke & Brian - Morocco Bound - November 2011 travel blog

Loading van at Todra Gorge

Our group at pharmacy

Eke's massage


Kenny's transplant

Potter at Horizons

Weaver at Horizons

Eke, Brian and "Action"

"Action" in action (pouring tea)

The regular routine this morning: breakfast, loading the bus and off we go!

We stopped in Tinehir at a silversmith with a shop of course. He showed us the different silver jewelry with engravings representing the different Berber and Nomad tribes. Eke bought a nomad cross hanger which means freedom, travel, and has a hole at the top which is a compass. The three points represent land, language and people.

From there on to an ATM where our card was accepted finally - we have some trouble with that! At about 1.00pm we arrived in Ouarzazate where there are lots of expensive hotels for the movie stars that perform in the movies shot around here and in Ait Benhaddou; movies like The Gladiator, Jewel of the Nile, Samson and Delilah and Lawrence of Arabia. Our lunch was in Ouarzazate at a Riad (a large home renovated into a guesthouse/ restaurant. We sat outside on the patio in the sunshine. The food and the freshly squeezed orange juice tasted great.

After lunch we visited a pharmacy where we were taught about the use of natural herbs, teas and spices and their healing properties. He demonstrated different massage oils with a mini massage. Kenny had his back massage and got fitted with a new penis! Brian had his knee massage and Eke her forehead, neck and shoulders - felt great!! Of course some "magic" tea and massage oil was bought.

Then we dropped in at Horizon, an agency supported by the Intrepid Foundation. The agency works with poor physically disabled people and teaches them skills. They learn for example pottery, carpet weaving, woodworking etc. Some people live there and some come for the day program.

Then it was on to Ait Benhaddou and our guesthouse. Our host there was Hussein who likes to call himself "Action". He has been an extra in many of the movies shot there. He was very entertaining and fun. We had tea and cookies on the terrace with a beautiful view of the Kasbah. This Kasbah is an old castle/fort from the 15th century. Many of the movies are filmed here.

The sunset was worth every click of the camera. We got a cooking demonstration of how to make Moroccan couscous and tagine. The couscous and the lamb tagine both take about 2 and a half hours to make. Our dinner was lamb, vegetables and couscous with creamed vegetable soup as an appetizer.

After dinner we had an interesting conversation with Khalid re family life in Morocco. There are some rigid rules for both sexes. When looking for a wife it fares well for men not to smoke and drink alcohol. Women are looked down on when they smoke and sit in a coffee shop by themselves. Marriages are mostly arranged. The man's mother goes to the girl's mother to ask if the girl is open to marrying her son. The girl is consulted but if the man is a suitable candidate the mother will put on quite a bit of pressure on the girl to say yes. It is still very important to have a daughter married - more important than her having a career. Dating is not done - in the big cities maybe. The police have the right to question them about living together which is not allowed legally. Gay and lesbian relationships are illegal and the police have the right to arrest them. Khalid has never seen his father and mother touch or kiss each other. Very interesting to learn about it all.

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