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Morocco 2

 

Tizi-n-Tichka

 

 

The High Atlas mountains stretch for 400 miles east to west and separate the desert to the south from the more temperate  and fertile north. Only 3 paved roads cross this barrier and the middle pass is one of the most exciting.

 

One of the great mountain passes and highways on the planet.  50 miles of up and down and doubling back upon yourself.  Often with no guard rails whatsoever.  A road that in places even scared me .

 

 

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3 Gorges

Falling down from the High Atlas mountain range are a number of other streams and rivers that carry off the winter snow melt.  All of those heading south exhaust themselves in the Sahara, but not before they carve deep clefts into the earth.  Three of the best gorges are presented below.

 

    Ziz

The Gorge of the Ziz river cuts a path a dozen miles long and hosts the eastern most of the north-south trunk routes that join the country.

 

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    Todra

Todra is the shortest of the 3, but it provides the sharpest cleft in the mountains.

     

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Dades

Dades runs for 40 miles before it dead ends against the mountain.  (4 wheel drive people can continue on at their own risk).

Just dwarfs Papillon

 

One must be careful of the overhanging rock when driving

    

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Marrakech

Once in your life you must spend an evening in the

Jemaa el Fna

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The large square separating the old medina from the slightly newer part of town (though still not to be confused with the very modern western sections of this very cosmopolitan city).

You have seen it on TV, and sadly my photos do not do it justice.

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When you arrive as night deepens, stand near the center of the space and just close your eyes and listen.

First an enthusiastic set of drum beats will hold your attention until a noisy motorbike passes near, then a lilting flute melody will hold center stage before the clapping of another circle of people predominates.  Again, one of a half dozen drum ensembles leaps to the forefront, just before your ear hears the animated conversation of a couple of women  in a language that you can not identify.  Next is the hawking cry of the fruit vender, and then the tea guy before 3 non-stop youngsters hold sway prior to another wind and drum sextet which is playing accompaniment to a troupe of tumblers.

And on it goes.

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And in the darkness the temporary restaurants hold pride of place, not just western food but local favorites as well.

And where Judy considered a career change - 

as a lamb's head server.

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And yes, they are very real.

 

We faced death in Marrakech!

Pedestrian crosswalks are treated like "serving suggestions" here.  Though there are signs and lines in the street they are completely ignored by all concerned.  Crossing the street is an act of faith, because the cars, and especially the motorbikes, do not slow down one bit.  If they did, the pedestrians would swarm into the street and totally block it.  Never have we seen this madness practiced on such a vast scale.  We were surprised that we did not see one accident.

 

Arabic is written right to left.

Grand Taxis go to other cities and depart when they are full.  This is a "station".

 

Mom is cradling another infant in her arms.

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Sometimes bad things happen to good motorhomes.

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Views from the Wheelhouse

 

 

Some views from the wheelhouse of everyday life and scenes in a land most exotic and strange to these Yankee eyes.

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Wherever the big boys can go.....we can go!

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Stork nest on the minaret.

 

Cows

Sheep & man

Cows & goats

Cows & sheep

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High and wide

 

 

 

Surrey with the fringe on top?

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2 Men and a Donkey - Cartage for hire

 

 

 

 

 

2 kids in the fun seats

Every town worth its couscous has an entrance bab (gate).  This is Rissani.

A town in the foothills

A town in the desert

 

Lunch Stop at the Oasis

The Heavy Haulers

Donkeys and Women

 

 

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Under the Guns of Mogador

 

Papillon spent a couple of nights under the Guns of Mogador

Today's Essaouira was the Portuguese town of Mogador

 

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E s s a o u i r a

 

In the early 1970's, rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix lived in a nearby village.  Then it was a lone outpost of the hippies and artists.  A long time American resident stated that in the last 5 years the pace has changed to the point that the town is completely different.  The town has been "discovered" and hotel and condo development is proceeding rapidly.  Again we are loving our best places to death.

 

 

 

 

Casablanca

Rick's Cafe Americian isn't here anymore.  Actually it only existed on a Hollywood sound stage.  But what a place and what an image it gave us of wartime Casablanca.  And who can ever forget the memorable lines that became part of the American experience.  "Play it again, Sam.", "Here's looking at you Kid!" and my personal favorite - of the Inspector ordering "Round up the usual suspects!"

 

If the truth be known, Casablanca is in actuality a rather modern city of mundane architecture and little to attract the tourist, even Moroccans.  Thus the Royal House decided to construct a large Mosque on an artificial peninsula in the downtown waterfront.  Today the Hassan II mosque is the second largest in the world and can accommodate 25,000 faithful.

The minaret is 600 feet tall.

 

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