Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Europe 2016 - Trip Notes # 10

Europe 2016 - Trip Notes # 10

Taroudant, Morocco

It was 25 years ago when we were last in Morocco. At that time, we drove from one part of the country to another. The North African countryside was beautiful and pristine. The exotic villages and towns "popped" with color and excitement. In a sense, what we experienced at that time, was almost like moving through a Hollywood movie set with everything so perfect.

One of the more significant changes that we initially noticed was the amount of trash in the Agadir streets as well as in the desert countryside as we traveled to Taroudant.  It was shocking to see so much debris scores of miles from the center of town.

During our drive to Taroudant, the bus driver had to deal with some detouring and roadwork. Although Morocco is a large desert country, the Atlas Mountains (northern part of the country) is well known for its "flash floods." 
On a clear day, (and many miles from the mountains), deaths and destruction can be a sad and common occurrence in this country. It was amazing to see an entire portion of highway that had been wiped out by what one might call a "desert tsunami."

Taroudant is a very large, walled city built over the many years with (primarily) a clay-like material, straw, rock, wood or any other natural things found in the area.

Many city gates allow pedestrians and vehicles to move in and out of the city. 

There was quite a surprise during a "pit stop" when we ended up at the hotel that we stayed at 25 years earlier

Door Leading To A Beautiful And Quiet Hotel Patio

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Even though 25 years ago, Taroudant could have used a "new coat of paint," we recalled that there was a sense of vibrancy, excitement and a high energy level. Now, with the city still needing that coat of paint, the city seems depressed and worn down.

 Bread Is Still Baked In Archaic Oven
Just Baked, Warm Bread - Umm, Umm Good!

Buying Produce Has Not Changed In Taroudant

No Stroller For This Mother

It appeared to us that it was the women who were mostly moving to and fro while the men sat or worked on some labor required task.

Lots of Begging

Even Taroudant Women Beg

Bees and Flies Enjoy These Grains

Arlene Finds A Spice Shop

Typical Scissors Used To Cut Greens

Mother And Daughter Discuss What's For Dinner 

How About Goat For Dinner?

Notice The Four Types Of Transportation: Car, Motorcycle, Bike and Donkey/Cart

It appeared to us that fewer women were wearing the traditional black burka or abaya. 

 This Woman Adds Color To Her Modesty

Taroudant seemed "heavy" to us. People were going around doing there normal business activities. But, there was no smiling. Their steps were not quick. 

The Weight of The World Is On His Shoulders

Until recently, the below structure was used as temporary housing as people would migrate from once place to another. Animals would be housed in the bottom level. 

Manual labor remains a key aspect to Taroudant's daily activities.

Women Grind Argon Tree Nuts
Notice The Oil Dripping Into The Bowl

 Argon Nuts

Argon oil is an "Elixer of Lfe!" The oil is used for everything: Cooking, treating medical issues, bringing "life" back to hair - a true, natural substance.

What Size Shirt Do You need?

There were few children running around. We did not see young adults walking to and from and certainly not shopping in the stalls for that matter. Without knowing "details," it would appear that this town is struggling with economic issues.

Education is a problem. Villages are too spread out - there are not enough schools - transporting children from a village to a village with a school can consume "hours" translating into parents and the children give up on the system.

Other than a few satellite dishes on roofs and more vehicular congestion, Taroudant seems to have economically regressed since we last visited this city.

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Casablanca is a metropolitan city. 75% of Morocco's industries are located here.  It is a major seaport for Africa's Northwest area.

Hassan II Mosque (one of the largest and most beautiful) can be seen from most parts of the city.

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Unlike Taroudant, Casablanca is more crowded with people and cars. 

Gridlock Is Common

              Choose Your Koran

       Typical Stop Sign 

Plenty Of Time To Discuss "Breaking News"

Lots Of Local Color

Unlike the Gulf States, Morocco is a lot more relaxed in terms of praying and clothing. Police do not force the locals into the mosques to pray. Although Burkas are not required, without a doubt, we are in a Moslem country.

Notice Jeans Under Abaya

People Seem Happier - Lots Of Energy (All Ages) And A Totally Different Feeling Than In Taroudant 

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Casablanca Olive Market 

Olives, Peppers And Spices

Grains And Spices

Compared to Taroudant, Casablanca is totally different. This truly is a large metropolitan area. It is more lively, people seem happier. Many more young adults are seen throughout the town. There is lively feeling as we traversed the city.  Much like our Beverly Hills, there are fancy homes with great views of the coastline. Pretty beaches are filled with locals (in western bathing suits) are common.

Rick's Bar never existed and its reproduction was torn down and rebuilt a year or so ago.  Bogart, Bergman, Henreid and Lorre are long gone. But, Casablanca still remains in our cinema memory bank.

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