Looking down on the Dades Gorge

Yesterday we drove a little ways to the Dades Gorge. While spectacular and full of echo potential, the gorge itself is just that, and otherwise nothing special. Yes, it’s dramatic, but a gorge only goes so far at a cocktail party.

“Why yes, last summer I visited the Dades Gorge.”
“Oh, and how did you find it?”
“Quite dramatic really. Deep.”
“Pardon me, I really think I need another Martini.”

After doing a drive-by of the gorge, we settled into our hotel, which overlooked the family farming plots along the Dades river. From the hotel patio we could watch the village go about its daily business on and around the river.

Much of the activity of the village morning and evening consists of tending the fields and gathering wheat. Wheat is gathered the old-fashioned way… women kneel among the crop with scythes and cut it in sheathes. These are then hauled home on the women’s backs where they are set to dry.

As we walked around the village, occasionally a window would open and a child would call out “Helloooo!” We would talk to them for a little while in french and english before moving on. Even the kindergarten-aged children here seem to speak at least three languages. For slightly older children, we were the most entertaining thing in town. A small posse followed us around on our walk, not saying much, just watching us. They were very cute, and probably thought we were the weirdest thing ever.

Today we drive to Aït Benhaddou, a classic example of a Kasbah (fortified city) and the set for many films. The city sits on a hillside overlooking a river, and is astoundingly romantic. Since Aït Benhaddou is a World Heritage Site, there are attempts being made to preserve it. (Adobe homes tend to deteriorate within a few hundred years.)

Rural Morocco is definitely weird about alcohol. Stores sell it, but you have to ask for it behind the counter (like pornography in the States.) You’re supposed to be discreet about drinking it, but you can ask the hotel to keep your supply of beer in the restaurant cooler. It all has a “We know this is not supposed to exist, but we know it does” feel around it.

I wish I could write more, but it’s been a long day and I’m exhausted.

What do you think?

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