Atlas Mountains, Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou, Kasbah de Taourirt, and Jamaa el Fna

Today we all rose early for our day trip. But there was somebody else in the little bathroom on our level. So we had to wait. Then we ate our breakfast in a rush. A driver from our tour company came to pick us up while we were still eating our breakfast. We got in his van. There were people in there already. He picked someone else up en route to the tour company. Then everyone had to get off the van and get on to different buses based on the trip destination. We paid $90 for the reservation on-line. We needed to pay the balance of 550 MAD after we got on the right bus. We were waiting for others to come. I didn’t feel so well in the bus. I got off and started a conversation with a Berber of the tour company. I asked him the difference between Berber and Bedouin. He said that Berber lived in mountains and was settled there, but Bedouin lived in the desert and moved from place to place. Finally, the bus was full with fifteen tourists. The bus driver hopped in, closed the doors, and started driving.

Beautiful Atlas Mountains

Beautiful Atlas Mountains

Snow capped Atlas Mountains, a guaranteed source of water

Snow capped Atlas Mountains, a guaranteed source of water

A small village in Atlas Mountains

A small village in Atlas Mountains

Interesting landscape

Interesting landscape

Glimpse of Sahara desert

Glimpse of Sahara desert

We arrived at Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou before 11 am. A tour guide led us to the ancient building that once was a station for the caravans between Sahara desert and Marrakech. He stopped at a little shop on our way to show us the pictures drawn with indigo stone for blue color, green tea for green color, and saffron for red color.

Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou seen from afar

Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou seen from afar

Crossing the Ounila saltwater river to Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou. Livestocks drank the saltwater. It was also used for irrigation.

Crossing the Ounila saltwater river to Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou. Livestocks drank the saltwater. It was also used for irrigation.

Ditch for guiding water in

Ditch for guiding water in

Saltwater irrigated olive trees at Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou

Saltwater irrigated olive trees at Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou

Part of adobe Berber homes. Eight families were still living in there.

Part of adobe Berber homes. Eight families were still living in there.

Brick and mud wall at Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou

Brick and mud wall at Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou

Looking down from top of Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou. The other side of the Ounila river is the new town.

Looking down from top of Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou. The other side of the Ounila river is the new town.

Outside of the room for taking bath

Outside of the room for taking bath

The kitchen

The kitchen

The Ounila saltwater river

The Ounila saltwater river

The adobe village Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou reminded me parts of Xinjiang, P. R. China, where people resided in this type of houses.

Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou was a popular site for movie shootings. Most noticeable including Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator.

Our tour guide lead us to a restaurant in the new village for lunch. Before he left, we had to pay him 80 MAD. We ordered three tajine dish for 330 MAD. It was the worst and most expensive lunch we ever had in Morocco.

Our next destination was the town of Ouarzazate. The driver parked in front of the Cinema Museum of Quarzazate. We weren’t interest in it. However, the building across the street caught our attention. We decided to use our time to visit that instead.

Kasbah de Taourirt seen from afar

Kasbah de Taourirt seen from afar

Kasbah de Taourirt

Kasbah de Taourirt

Kasbah de Taourirt seen from courtyard

Kasbah de Taourirt seen from courtyard

One of the rooms of Kasbah de Taourirt had tiled ceiling

One of the rooms of Kasbah de Taourirt had tiled ceiling

Kasbah de Taourirt was a big chalk and sand maze. We were lost in there more than once. The rooms were empty with low windows providing light and view over the Drâa valley. It had close to three hundred rooms. Most of the rooms were small with low doors.

It’s time to go back to Marrakech. The driver was driving so fast on the Atlas mountain roads. Finally, the wild ride came to an end and he dropped everyone off at Jamaa el Fna. I was really glad we had no accidents during this trip.

Koutoubia mosque at night

Koutoubia mosque at night

Jamaa el Fna at night

Jamaa el Fna at night

Jamaa el Fna was filled with tourists and locals

Jamaa el Fna was filled with tourists and locals

First, we bought five cups of mixed fruit juice for 50 MAD. Then we walked to the food stalls. As we just approached them, hustlers came. We sat down at the first stall with sheep heads displayed after a hustler of that stall cleared some seats for us. I forgot their stall number, I think it’s either 12, 13, 14 or 15, or some number closer to it. We decided to have three beef stew and four mixed sheep head. A young rude guy who accepted money from customers was named Mustafa. He bossed around an older coworker who was trying to help and please him. He was probably the son of the boss. He was also in charge of the beef stew pot and handed people naan with the same bear hands that he just handled money with. One time he dropped the big spoon in the pot and spilled the soup all over in front of us and on my coat. He didn’t even apologize. The hustler helped me clean up and apologized profusely. When we were done eating, Mustafa said 400 MAD. I was shocked. We shouldn’t have assumed that they had the same price as the only other sheep head stall No.76 and didn’t even look at price before we ate. I asked for the menu. An Arab girl sitting next to us overheard the conversation and told him it’s wrong. The hustler spoke to him in Arabic with the right amount. It should have been 330 MAD with beef stew at 70 MAD each, and mixed lamb head at 30 MAD each. Since he ruined my coat and didn’t even apologize, and now he was trying to overcharge us, Mr. Adventurer was very unhappy and said to pay him 300 MAD. The hustler said some Arabic to Mustafa about the situation because he was the witness.

We were still craving for kebabs. Where should we go? We went back to stall No.100, of course. That’s our third night there. The people there greeted us with big smiles and welcoming applauses from workers and other customers. The boss welcomed us home. We asked for two orders of kebabs and they gave us five cups of free mint tea for 140 MAD. While we were enjoying the kebabs, Adventurer Jr. commented that the owner of the stall was a smart guy because No.100 was such an easy number to remember, plus the food was good, customers would have an easy time of remembering and coming back to it. Before we left, the boss wished us well because we’d go on our separate ways and would probably never meet again in our lifetimes.

Next in the series: Ma‘as-sālama Morocco, Hello England


Comments

Atlas Mountains, Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou, Kasbah de Taourirt, and Jamaa el Fna — 2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Morocco, England and France Trip, Oh, My | The Adventurer Blog

  2. Pingback: Riad, Palais El Baddi, Bab Agnaou, Souks, and Jamaa el Fna | The Adventurer Blog

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