Thursday, September 14, 2006

Travel Writing about Morocco - Part 4.

From time to time Samir has posted some interesting critiques about travel writing on Morocco. So while he is away launching his new book in Australia, here is a story from a Canadian, Adam Smith. The article is short but interesting as it is a look at a specific part of Morocco. Here is an excerpt followed by a link to the full article:

I was travelling alone when I rolled into Chefchaoen by collective taxi—collective early ’70s Mercedes actually—a make not unlike most taxis that bounce between these rocky localities. Coming from busy, bustling Tangiers, just under two hours away, I was ready for a less hectic scene and a place to get outside and move, to see the land.

By chance, I met a Spanish woman and her boyfriend, who was from Hinton area. The pair informed me that they would be hiking to a long waterfall south of town and invited me to join them. Accompanying us were two American hippies and a Danish woman. After bartering for 20 minutes with an aggressive yet good-natured hoard of taxi drivers, we got in a cab and started for the trailhead.

At the base of the hike, a fast moving chute emptied into a wide, slow-moving river, where some families where picnicking on its banks. The winding ascent quickly wound up the mountain, cutting through arching bush and coiling around massive boulders. We reached a narrow, decrepit foot bridge that took us over a small waterfall and a deep pool where a some Berber children were playing. They became a part of our entourage, circling about us, quick, half-naked and barefoot, and cheerfully pointing ahead and shouting in Arabic.

Our group had begun to grow. A few moments later, I looked behind to see a balding middle-aged man climbing towards us at a fair pace—our taxi driver. He was sweating profusely, drenching his dark tweed pants and dress shirt, laughing and gesturing with his hands. When the children dashed by him, he would lift his hand and tap them each on the head. We hiked together for another hour.

As we approached the falls we could hear the sound of the water crashing and the air grew misty and cool. The size of the falls was unimpressive but the tranquil beauty of the setting was surreal. How the Great Flowers were blooming!

We paid the kids off with some watermelon, and after a swim and some lunch, we started on the roundabout path back to the base of the mountain. I kept my eyes peeled as the cab driver explained to me that these fields are home to thousands of cannabis plantations (as I would encounter first hand days later). As we descended, he pointed out patches of light, bright green, and I told him of Canada’s true best export. The hike back was much lighter as we descended into a long hooking valley that would mildly bring us back to our starting point.

In the valley we passed the home of a real shepherd and his flock. His home was handmade from mortar and stone, probably from the creek running alongside his home. His flock adorned his porch and decorated the rest of the yard alongside large boulders that appeared to have fallen straight from the mountain high above. The goats watched us pass with comic indifference.

Read the full article here: WHEN IN MOROCCO, DON'T EXPECT A NAKED LUNCH


No comments: