moROCKo

 We now know how this country got the second syllable of their name. Rocks are everywhere and have many duties. Washouts of the highway and shoulder are marked by stacks of three rocks Potholes filled with water are marked with rocks if they are too deep. Short narrow walls are made to delineate property lines. Stone fences good neighbors make. Six-foot stacked stone walls block access. Piles of rocks on the roadside seem to be decorative. Some are painted white or orange. Others are decorated with tire treads or trash, bottles or brush, and colorful plastic bags. Fields of gravel are littered with big rocks. Rocky fields stretch to the horizon.

 Some of the gravel strewn fields are plowed. John Deere green and blue Ford tractors were not surprising to see. Bright red Massey Fergeson tractors were. We even saw a M-F dealer in a town of about 1,000 people. Red outnumbers blue and green by orders of magnitude.

 Riding to the coast today, we saw goats in trees. They climb the trees and eat the fruit. Their scat is processed into skin lotion and sold in pharmacies. At least that’s our guide’s story. Shepherds wait for tourists to stop and request money when we take pictures.  Whenever we walk around people come up and start telling us about the local attractions and try to be helpful. They would like to be paid for their “help.”  In one village a man claiming to be a guide asked us what we were looking for. “ATM” was foreign to him and he said that he had been guiding English speaking tourists for many years and had never heard the term. Richard and Mick appeared and said that the cash machine was 30 feet away. Now the guide said “Of course, why didn’t you say you were looking for a cash machine?”

Essouira is a fishing village on the Atlantic and also a resort town. We saw parking lots along the beach filled with RVs from France. Europeans call the vehicles caravans. None are as big as our Winnebagos, but seem comfortable and many have satellite dishes on top. They come to Morocco from all over Europe and some stay the whole winter here. French and Arabic are the official languages and most service people speak French and a little English.  Seaside restaurants serve a steak filet, with a tomato, onion and pepper salad and french fries for about $10 US. “Filet” is their word for what we would “round steak.”

The fleet seemed to be in port today. It is inside a walled city. Little blue boats go out by themselves or on the deck of bigger boats and are lowered into the water by a big derrick. Big boats have huge nets that are winched aboard full of seafood. We saw stalls with eels, shrimp, crab, sole, and many other fish whose names we didn’t know. We’ve eaten many wonderful dinners with very fresh fish. 

In addition to fishing, they also have dry docks for repairing or building new boats. A keel was laid out and they were building a boat on top of it.

We also saw a little truck delivering bait chum to men who attached them to hundreds of hooks.

Sitting in the hotel lobby editing this post I hear the sixties song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” being sung in French!

Dec 3 Marrakech to Essouira.

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