Monday, 5 May 2008

Morocco Part 6

After we left Taroudant we spent 9 days hopping from point to point. The first stop was a town in the Anti Atlas Mountains, called Tafrout. It was this little tiny town, only about 6 thousand people, surrounded by these gorgeous red granite rocks. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing the only full day we had there. So we didn't get to see most of what surrounded us. That was a real shame, because the day we left the wind had calmed and the rocks were gorgeous! But our one day there we took a drive up into a canyon. Actually we didn't know that's what we were going to do. Our driver, Youseef, decided we were going to see this gorge. This happened a lot of the time. I kind of wanted to go take a hike out to see the petroglyphs. But that was clearly not on Youseef's agenda. The staff at this Auberge didn't speak much English. Youseef didn't speak much English. I don't speak much French, and even less Arabic. So we had kind of a hard time communicating our various thoughts on what should be happening. Especially right at the beginning of our 9 day tour. We got out into the middle of this gorge and Youseef stops and we get out for a few minutes. He then got on his mobile phone and made a call. Then he turns to me and hands me the phone to do . . . something. I don't speak French, remember! Eventually I figure out that I'm supposed to order food. I think I'm ordering dinner. We got the order done in a very odd mixture of French, English, Spanish and Arabic. Youseef, Grandma and Lois were all standing around laughing at me. They wouldn't have found it so amusing if it had been THEM trying to get the message across! Eventually I finished ordering, and we got back in the car and headed home. Seriously, we drove out there, ordered food, got back in the car and came home. Very odd.

Anyway, on the way back to the Auberge we had Youseef stop off at Tafrout and we got some bread and cheese for lunch. We'd had so many enormous meals by this point that we didn't want anything but a little bit of bread and cheese. I was also quite exhausted. Translation duties are never easy, but when you really don't speak the language, they're even worse! So when we first got back to the Auberge, I lay down for a nap. Got woken up about 30 minutes later when there was a knock on Lois' and my door. Youseef was there! He clearly was trying to say something, and Lois wasn't getting it, so she made me get up to figure it out. Something about a drink. The bar. Umm . . . Oh! He was inviting us to the bar for a drink before lunch. Ok. We can go have a drink with you. We collected Grandma on the way to the bar, but when we got to the bar, we realised Youseef had ordered a bottle of wine. All the sudden my brain registered the word he'd used at the room: apéritif. Ooops! That's an alcoholic pre-food drink! I knew that! So we managed to explain that we don't drink alcohol, and got some Diet Coke. As we were sitting there attempting to converse with Youseef, the waiter came over and said that lunch was ready. Lunch? What lunch? We hadn't ordered lunch! Oh wait. Was that what was going on back at the canyon? Yep! We'd ordered lunch, not dinner! I don't speak French, remember? So we had lunch!

After lunch we split back up into our rooms (me and Lois in one, Grandma in another). It was too windy and cold to sit outside and enjoy it, so we went back to our rooms to read/sleep. We'd arranged with the Auberge owner, Elizabeth (a Dutch woman), to meet at 4.00 for a 'easy hike'. We = me and Lois. Not Grandma. So at 4.00 Lois and I set out with Elizabeth to do this 'easy' hike. In truth it was not a hard hike. We crossed the . . . I'm not really sure what to call them. They were bigger than hills, but smaller than mountains. I'll stick with Rocks, I guess! So, I wouldn't have called it easy, either. Good fun, though! We hiked for two hours, up the side of the rocks. The rocks were gorgeous. Really reminded me of the colours of Brice Canyon in southern Utah. And, like the southern region of Utah, it ached to be climbed. If I were to go back to Morocco, this is where I'd come. With my gear! As it was, it was a fun scramble (yes, that is a technical term, thank you!)

After we got to the top of the rocks, we saw two nomad families! Elizabeth, our guide, said that the first family had been there at least 3 years. The other family, though, had just arrived. They had these little kids (as in young goats), and the kids were out playing. They were so adorable. Chasing each other around the tent. Was great proof that kids are kids, no matter the species. And if the species doesn't matter, why should the language or race amongst our own species?!? They were fun to watch. Elizabeth told us if we wanted to go over, they'd host us and give us mint tea (of course!) But we didn't want to impose on the families. Would have been kind of fun, though. Never mind.

At the end of our hike, we arrived at the town of Tafrout. Not much to say about the town except that it exists. We had a 4 km hike back in front of us when, all the sudden, the manager of the hotel showed up with the car. He had an errand to run in town, so Elizabeth had arranged to have him come in when we were ready to go home. So we got a lift home! Lois and I spent a little time by the pool before facing up to an enormous (and rather surprising) dinner. Why was dinner surprising? Well, I'd attempted to order one pizza for the 3 of us. What happened? Yeah, 3 pizzas! We canceled everything else.

And, as always happens when I travel abroad, I collected another admirer. One of the staff has decided that the sun rises and sets with me. *sigh* Now, I'd like a boyfriend. But I want one who at least speaks English! This guy speaks just enough to be a nuisance. He gave me a note:

When you look at the sky if
you see the falling stars
Don't wonder why, just make
a wishes, it be come true.
Believe me?!
I like to Talk to you,
I Find you nice and very Beautifull
I want to know you more and
to Tell me about you?

Tu Mi gusta mucho
(That's slightly wrong Spanish for, I like you very much)

Reproduced as he scribed it on the paper.

Below the note/poem thing he included his email and phone. Why is it that I go abroad and the men come out of the woodwork, but at home I can't even get a single date? Where's the justice? So I avoided him for the rest of the day, and was relieved that we were only there for two days. The guide book says that most western women feel that they've met the entirety of the single male population of Morocco by the time they go home. Oh is it true! That's exactly how I feel! Apparently because they don't have much contact with females (other than mothers and sisters, I guess) before they get married, they find western women, who are not bound by Islamic/Moroccan law, exciting and exotic. Kind of odd thinking of myself as exotic!


littlemithi said...

Come on Adele, of COURSE you're exotic! Quite rare to find such a combination of looks, brains and talent ;)

Big hugs ...

Heather said...

Amazing the difference language barriers make! Your food-ordering misadventures had me chuckling. And that's a very sweet little note. :) Tell me, when you were a missionary, did you have the same problem? In my mission there were certain sisters, who, through no fault of their own, seemed to attract amorous attentions wherever they went (I was one of them. :\) Anyway, your admirer reminded me of that phenomenon. :)