Showing posts with label Morocco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Morocco. Show all posts

Monday, December 31, 2018

A Sojourn of THE DREAM

Can it be we have arrived back to where we began? It feels as though a thousand suns have risen and set; not the sixty we experienced.

Amy and I began our sojourn exotically enough in Oaxaca, Mexico during the peculiar celebration called Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Dancing skeletons, candles in cemetaries, masks and music on the street all began us in a sojourn of THE DREAM.

Next, Mexico City brought us face to face with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Streets teemed with moving masses of humanity, rather childlike . . . even as little boys strummed guitars for endless hours gathering small change from tips. We found fake money in our wallets that local people spotted right away and refused to take.

Onward to Granada, Spain, in the “Old World.” Alhambra and its exquisite moorish castle perched above the city looked over to Sacromonte flamenco caves where every evening plaintive guitars, singing, stomping feet and castanets held forth.

Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes, entertained us each night before sleep. We read his knight-errant quests with his squire Sancho Panza, and attack upon windmills that he thought to be giants . . . then we visited the windmills, set high on a hill above a sleepy town called Consuegra.

Our rental car took us through seemingly endless landscape of olive trees to Cordoba, another famous Spanish city. I took plenty of photos of Andalusian horses and riders of the equestrian shows there.

We arrived by chance to Ronda and found it entrancing . . . so much so that Orson Welles chose to have his ashes thrown over the grounds . . . not far from the famous bull ring where Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso took in the action.

At Gibraltar, on a Mediterranean beach under the famous ROCK looming nearby, Amy collected tiny seashells strewn on the shore. A short boat ride across the sea and Morocco captivated us with spices, veiled women, donkeys, sheep, hashish, and ubiquitous mosques calling to prayer five times daily. Chefchaouen and its blue walls painted poetry all around us in the Atlas Mountains. By taxi we reached Fes and found ourselves living in a mansion with courtyard in a labyrinth old town surrounded by thousand year old wall. A modern train ride to Tangier gave us respite from the chaotic grit and grime of street life and quickly we fell under the same spell that bound the beat poets and writers.

Back in Spain we rented a car again and found a hotel in Seville, then an apartment in the old walled part of Toledo where vehicles aren’t allowed. Narrow cobbled passages lead from church to church, castle to castle, with shops lining each side. El Greco spoke to us through his portraits from the sixteenth century in his own museum.

At last Madrid and an apartment for a week one block away from Plaza de Espagna. There is found Don Quixote and Sancho Panza—at a monument with Cervantes himself looking over them. Every day we ambled among masterpieces of art in museums Madrid is famous for. These artworks celebrate THE DREAM in all its facets. And now we are far richer for the adventures it has offered us.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Tokens Along The Way

View of the old tannery, Fes, Morocco

Our taxi drive from Chefchaouen to Fes, Morocco, took just over three hours. After a brief wait at an arranged meeting place, a middle aged woman in long gown and head scarf gently approached and peered inside our car. Seeing two foreigners, she smiled. “Rachida?” I asked her name. She nodded.

Dining area and kitchen

Rachida works for Tara, the British owner who lives in Fes and Barcelona.
We gathered our things and walked a few minutes to a plaza and mosque. A couple zig-zags took us into dark, grimy passageways having to unlock gates. I felt bad for Amy’s fist impression of Fes. This would be our living experience for a week. It all changed when the massive wood door to our home opened. Rachida began showing us around. The house is an artist's delight. Intricate tile mosaics abound. Doors from previous centuries adorn, as well as tapestries, candle chandeliers, two bedrooms and baths, two kitchens and a delightful rooftop veranda with views over the city. The place is in the shape of a square. An inner courtyard is in the middle and goes straight up three floors—so each floor has rooms surrounding the inner court, connected by a flight of stairs. As we toured the second floor we turned a corner and found a reading room. Curled in one of the chairs we found Tiger, the resident calico cat. He is a welcome housemate.

We did not know that Rachida would be our breakfast cook and housekeeper. One special afternoon we went with her and her twelve year old daughter, Doha on a walk through the old Medina. to a famous restaurant called Cafe Clock. An Englishman started it and the woman who owns the house we are in in produced a cook book with Moroccan recipes for the restaurant. She has employed Rachida for about ten years.

Fes is a complicated maze of boulevards, hills and narrow passages filled with shops. So many things to delight the eyes. The second largest city in Morocco, (pop. 1.1 million), it first established itself in 8th century. Kingdoms have risen, fallen and risen again, leaving historic symbols and tokens along the way.

Tomorrow we leave for Tangier. We must be at the train station at 08:30 for the five hour trip. In three days we return to Spain. This is THE DREAM we are in.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Blue the Color of the Sky

Blue the color of the sky covers the walls in Chefchaouen, Morocco—founded in 1471. It is said to symbolize the sky and heaven, and serve as a reminder to lead a spiritual life. Some say that it didn't get its distinctive color until 1492, when it received an influx of Jews escaping the Spanish inquisition, who brought a tradition of painting buildings blue. Since nobody seems to have a definite answer, and the town is high in the mountains and close to the celestial vault anyway, I like the sky and heaven story.

This is my second visit to Chefchaouen also known as Chaouen—and the first for Amy. It is great for picture taking, writing, poetry, painting and being refreshed spiritually.

Chefchaouen’s soul reminds me of Venice—another totally unique city.

Amy and I are staying in a quaint “Dar” or house. A family lives here and has let out apartments beautifully decorated with Moroccan flourishes.
Dar Aldea is in a Medina, the walled historic city center off limits to cars.

Cats make for good portraits in the Blue City. They are abundant and know that they are honored. On the other hand, dogs are second class and far more scarce. Amy has encouraged me to do a picture story called The Cool Cats of Chefchaouen.

Also see: The Worn Tracks of Common Man
and Destiny

Sunday, October 05, 2014


Destiny is turning me in the direction of home. A steady hand guides me as the compass turns west, from London, England to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Unites States of America.

Looking back to when I left on my journey, five weeks ago, I realize there are many layers of experience that have been added to the pages that make up the volume of memory that archives my life. It is because of living intensely that the annals of one month can fill the pages of a book.
A magic carpet ride whisked me to Egypt, settling me at the foot of the Great Sphinx next to the pyramids. I touched the stones that were carried to the tombs of Pharaohs five thousand years ago. The teeming, dirty streets nearby are crowded with restless men, struggling with a poor economy amid political unrest. Nevertheless, I found friendship and cordiality that took me into homes.
Further south, in Luxor the Nile River calmed and refreshed my spirit, even as the sweltering heat limited my daytime activity. New friendships were struck, and old friends emerged. The simple life dazzled me like a poem from the hands of a great writer—Rumi comes to mind. I floated on the timeless river and broke bread with the best of humble company, while seated on nothing but earth and straw.
The wings of flight took me onward, east across Northern Africa, to Morocco, where French is spoken as companion tongue to Arabic. I speak neither, so maintained my silence amid the changing episodes and kaleidoscope, flickering pictures that continued to beguile my senses. I rented a car, and drove across the north of the country, from Atlantic Ocean, over mountains and plains, through towns large and small, to the border of the Mediterranean Sea, and back to Casablanca. Always the readily available cup of tea, fresh orange juice, olives, spiced foods—and bottled water, except when I felt assured of drinking from taps that would not make me sick—like in Chefchahouen, the mountain city of ancient narrow passages and blue walls and gates.
Along the Atlantic coast, I dove headfirst with joy into the onslaught of unending waves, clearing my pores, flesh, and bones of the weary effects of travel. 
When I could, I painted, and always photographed, using my camera as a third eye. 

At the end, my wife arrived in Casablanca and we continued as a couple for five days. I had someone to talk to again, and hold. We flew to London, a major outpost of world civilization, and found entrancement in the well organized bustling streets and attractions. We visited art museums, and became full of ideas and possibilities to take home. And so we will arrive from where we began, in the course of this one day, traveling eastward with the sun.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Worn Tracks Of Common Man

It seems ages ago that I left the United States. I wonder if I have died and entered a dream landscape that has turned generations of pages. First, the land of the Pharoahs and pyramids put a spell on me, and now Morocco with its Kasbahs, and life straddling the old world and modernity. Arab societies are culturally quite different from America—mosques replace churches and the call to prayer wails out from loudspeakers at regular intervals throughout the lands. Most women are covered in dress from head to foot, and in Morocco, often it is the way females play in the ocean at beaches; covered in clothing. 

An Egyptian family, Luxor, gypt

I often as not find I cannot speak with people because of language barriers. In Egypt it is Arabic that is spoken and in Morocco, Arabic and French. Since I speak neither, hand motions and charade is the best understood language.

Mostly, I have not sought to buffer myself with exclusivity but walk the worn tracks of common man. I get lost, and chance sometimes is not in my favor. Perspective and consciousness is everything. I replace frustration with wonder, fear with trust, bewilderment with amazement. Because I do not have barriers of belief or feelings of superiority and privilege, the world is open and I pulsate with life on many levels. Being open to roaming and surprise, I have found myself in places where I was asked into family homes. In Egypt among the earthen homes on back roads, I was made to feel like a brother—part of the family, with a place of honor at the table. Yes, the table was a simple piece of wood with short legs brought out and set on the dirt with a straw mat to sit on, but I felt perfectly comfortable and the food was delicious, and freshly prepared. Animals roamed about, children came and went, and the simple life satisfied my spirit and calmed me.

Where but in Morocco could I live in a city of blue? Chefchaouen is such a city. Built on the peaks and hillsides of the Riff Mountains, the moorish architecture is clustered amid narrow passageways that weave throughout the town. The walls and doorways are a traditional blue color. I found myself walking through the village as if in a dream of azure. When I painted, I had fewer colors on my palette—blue predominates.

Now I am in Assilah, along the Atlantic coast and have been here before. I like the relaxed atmosphere and the old medina that is perched along a seawall. It is known for an art festival each summer, and many of the walls are hand painted with artwork. I feel at home.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Unexpected Destinations

I have been traveling for two weeks—first Egypt and now Morocco. The experience has brought me to THE DREAM, where surprising pictures transform, and situations are often unpredictable and lead to unexpected destinations. I have awakened and opened my curtains to see the Sphinx gazing back at me near the pyramids in Egypt, played with children on earthen floors along the banks of the Nile, been made sick and dizzy by traffic snarls in Cairo. I have at times been lost, bewildered, confused—and also content, happy, and have felt deep love among people. I have walked the ancient, narrow passages of the old medina in Casablanca, Morocco and smelled the spice, fish, bread and fruit. I've thrown myself in the cold Atlantic Ocean and reveled in the surf, with my bedroom just steps away. At night, sleeping in strange places, sleep sometimes does not come easy. At least once, the noise was loud downstairs, and when I complained, I was asked to join the party—and did, dancing until 3 AM amid the raucous laughter and fun. Now, I find myself in a village of blue walls clustered on steep mountainsides, with a maze of passages that zigzag and twist in all directions . . . like THE DREAM.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Let Go

In one week, I will be in Egypt. The first time I went was at the beginning of a trip around the world in 2008, and I had some trepidation because of Muslim fundamentalist hatred toward America. 
Yet, when I arrived, I found abundant love. 

This time, I also have a few doubts, but I am called to go and explore again, and hopefully, re-connect with friends I made and have lost contact with. ( See: Abu Ez )

After Egypt, I return to Morocco, the land of spices, mosques, mountains, oceans, camels in the desert, and Berbers. I will be mostly in the north, above Casablanca and will explore Chefchahoun, a mountain town where walls and doorways are painted a royal blue. 

Before leaving to travel in 2008, a dream foretold that I would enter a vessel and it would be a “grand confusion” between my world and the world outside of me. Hopefully, I will be able to let go, and happily dive back into a wonderful confusion of worlds.

For more, see:  
Welcome To Egypt

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Complex Labyrinth

Now that I have returned to the United States, I feel as if I am emerging from one month of wandering through a complex labyrinth. I seldom felt as though I walked in a straight line, but rather meandered, lost in wonderment, through a maze of experiences that curved, twisted and bent through cities, fields, mountains, deserts and oceans, among people who spoke languages I could not understand, sleeping in many different beds in various exotic abodes, eating unusual foods and learning to live where the sunrise is eight hours earlier.

While in the labyrinth, I did not feel particularly lost, even when I was sometimes traveling in the “wrong” direction, because I believe in THE DREAM, where everything has a purpose, even being lost. In Paris, the maze of tunnels under the city that carry the millions of subway passengers can be daunting, especially if one does not speak French, but being lost can have it’s pleasures. On the streets, I walked miles over the cobblestone avenues amid row after row of shops, café’s and hotels. An air of sophistication permeated everywhere, as if Paris was the seat of refinement for the world. In the Louvre Museum, I walked for hours over the marble floors, admiring some of the best artwork in the world . . . and also found myself in Pere Lachaise Cemetery, wandering amid the tombs of some the same great artists whose work is in the Louvre.

Morocco held many firsts for me: Drinking fresh squeezed orange juice every day for three weeks, seeing a snake charmer handling a live cobra, riding a camel and sleeping in a Bedouin tent under a full moon, being in a sandstorm, using a toilet and rinsing my butt with my hand dipped in a bucket of water used for that purpose, hearing the Muslim call to prayer blasted from loudspeakers at mosques every day for three weeks, eating olives at every meal, wearing a caftan and eye liner, seeing a woman go bathing in the ocean while fully dressed, including head scarf, (a wave knocked her down and she smiled at me with the same look of wonderment and glee as anyone would), pouring rose water in my eyes and also drinking it, seeing a herd of goats grazing in a tree while balanced on its branches, walking through a tannery, among the hides of animals being treated in smelly vats of pigeon excrement, looking west over the Atlantic ocean to see the sun set, drinking mint tea five times a day, being in a country where marijuana and hashish is legal but guns and alcohol are not. The medina’s, the souks and mosques, endless flocks of sheep and goats over the countryside, sometimes tended by children, fields plowed with horses, women covered from top to bottom with clothing to show Islamic modesty and discretion even while working in fields, fresh fruit and vegetables in every market, the call to prayer broadcast over loudspeakers five times a day, even in the smallest of villages. . . all the myriad sounds, sights, smells and sensations contributed to make me astonished and surprised at every turn.

In Spain, when I visited Antonio Gaudi’s (1852–1926) Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, I was sure the cranes would be gone from my previous visit, three years earlier, but they are not . . . it has been a work in progress since 1882 and is not expected to be finished until 2041.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


THE DREAM has a life of it’s own. I may have plans but if I am fluid in THE DREAM, sudden shifts occur and I must go along. I had planned to leave Merzouga and drive north to Chefchaouen, a town famous for it’s mountain setting and dwellings painted blue. As I was preparing to leave town I talked with my friend Ali and told him that with my remaining week, I also wanted to visit ocean beaches and arrive at Casablanca to depart Morocco. He suggested that I could go to Asilah on the coast, where the buildings are decorated in blue. This is how THE DREAM took me to Asilah.

The drive took a full day and one night. When I arrived at last, I actually drove past the town and when I turned around, the place looked rather non-descript. I inquired at a couple hotels, but they cost 400 Moroccan dirham, more than I wanted to pay and I was not satisfied. As I drove slowly in the streets near the ocean, I spoke a prayer to Naomi who I had been feeling near me, and it was as if someone else took hold of the steering wheel and pulled the car up in front of Hotel Zelis. The front desk manager showed me a spotless room with a balcony overlooking the Atlantic and told me the price was 300 dirham and included breakfast. Furthermore, the room number was 308, which immediately confirmed the whole deal. (See my blog about eleven’s).

Asilah has a sweet medina that gives the town its character. Each day I went there often, passing through one of the Báb’s (Báb means gate) in the walled area, to browse and photograph the whitewashed and brightly colored walls that were sometimes painted with artwork left over from an annual art festival.

THE DREAM delivered me to several characters, including Adnan, who worked in a small art gallery and was fluent in English and traded philosophies with me, especially about Islam and cultural differences between the occident and Arab countries. He said freedom is illusion and simply to have his religion is enough to be free. I took issue with Arab countries lack of tolerance for other beliefs and he said yes, but other beliefs might influence the young people away from Islam.

I also met street musicians, and Abdul, an itinerate naïve artist who pounced on tourists in the Medina, and spoke passable English. And the last evening, as I sat at a table at a sidewalk café, Hassan, a thin young man dressed in a red t-shirt and jeans approached to sell me coral necklaces he had made. I did not want to buy his necklace, but offered to buy him something to eat. He sat down and ordered a coffee. He spoke good English and said he had trained to be a chef, but could not find work. Our conversation turned philosophical and we talked about speaking good words to people and he said it is taught in the Koran. Abdul wandered by and I gave him a piece of my pizza and he said, “next time I will be the one sitting with you.” Some children came to beg for my pizza and I gave them some. At the end of dinner, Hassan again asked me to buy something and explained he lived with his parents, took care of some siblings, and also had a bad toothache but did not have enough money for the dentist. I have been hassled so often to buy things in Morocco, so I asked him how much he needed for the dentist. He said 45 dirham, and I offered to give it to him. But I only had a 100 dirham note. He told me to give it to him and we will go get change. We walked and he began taking me past shops and into alleys. I stayed beside him and continued talking but grew wary. I told him how often I had been approached for money and explained that sure, if I were king I would help everyone. (In fact, I have not sold a painting in two months and have been living on savings.) He said just thinking like this is a blessing, and it is taught in the Koran. We reached a corner and he pointed me which direction to go to my hotel, then pointed in the opposite direction and said he would go now for change, and took off running. After he disappeared, I waited a few minutes, since I had built trust with him, but realized he was not coming back, and I wandered through the dark to my hotel. I felt a little sadness, but no anger. I thought that he must have really needed the money, and he was probably praying for me to make up for my loss. Anyway, this is what THE DREAM had delivered that evening.

Before leaving the hotel in Asilah, I asked about a couple places along the coast and was told to go to Mouley Bousselham, known for its beach and nearby bird sanctuary. I arrived there from the highway and drove toward the ocean, looking for a hotel. The commercial district was only a couple of shops, and the hotel I looked at was claustrophobic and grimy. I got back in the car and drove slowly into a neighborhood on a bluff along the coast. I felt a reverie and again as if someone else was driving the car, pulled over. I went into a tiny convenience shop in the middle of the block of residences. The old man did not speak English, but I managed to make him understand “hotel”. He took me by the hand and went next door, calling out to someone inside. A young man named Abdul arrived who spoke English and said I could stay there. He showed me a clean, comfortable room and said breakfast was included. I noticed that the home had a placard on the wall out front that said Casa Nora. The rate was 300 dirham, and I could pay more for dinner. If there were a number on my bedroom door it would be 11.

The house looks out over the ocean where I swim everyday. The dinner preparation and service is far more than I expected. (See my pictures on Facebook.) I have become friends with the owner, Mohammed, who speaks English and has taken me to the wildlife refuge lake to show another house that is being finished into a guest lodge for the many bird watchers who come during the year. The trip over a bumpy road was worth it just to see the craftsmen, who were painstakingly putting intricate patterns of tiles together throughout the home. When it is finished, he wants me to return and stay to paint my art. He confided that he has always wanted a bedroom full of art depicting belly dancers. I told him I may be back, but I am not sure because I am like the wind and do not know where it will blow across the world next. On the way home he took me to a bustling fish market.
Eels at the fish market in Larache

In two days I depart Morocco and arrive in Barcelona, Spain for a few days before returning to the USA. I have some wonderful photos to work with, and a boatload of adventures to write about.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Primitive Profusion

Now that I am alone in Morocco, I am moving in any direction without restraint. This morning I left Fez to travel south to Merzouga, a famous village on the edge of some great Sahara sand dunes. Before leaving Fez, I looked at a map that indicated a long day’s drive, and thought about stopping along the way. I saw a town called Midelt that interested me, but a travel guide said it was not much of an attraction, and someone advised me to go to Erfoud instead, a tourist town closer to Merzouga.

About an hour south of Fez the countryside became verdant among rolling hills. I tried to make good time and drive at the speed limit along a narrow two-lane highway. The road curved and suddenly I passed a spectacular meadow. In a second, I had to decide either to stay to my schedule and hurry to arrive at my destination before night, or hit the brakes. The poppies in the field made me stop and pull over. There was not a fence, just a steep embankment. I had sandals and shorts on, and stepping over the rocks, I was met by thorny plants and brambles. But the color called me, and no one was around. I only heard a donkey braying in the distance.

I am glad I made the choice to stop and wander in the abandoned farm field covered in poppies and wildflowers. A brook passed through and a small olive orchard stood nearby. The primitive profusion of nature was a kaleidoscope for my enchanted eyes, and I thought how my schedule was of no importance—moreover beauty can be fleeting and memories forever. My feet were cut, but the blood reminded me of the red poppies.

I eventually arrived at Midelt, a scruffy berber town on the route between destinations. Slowing for traffic near a roundabout, a young man ran up to my car and said “Where are you going?” I answered, “Merzouga” and he spoke in English that he had just come from the USA and would I please visit with him. After a short conversation, I decided to stop for the night. He set me up with a clean, comfortable room and breakfast for less than twenty dollars, took me to a local once-weekly souk (market), and then went touring with me into the hillsides. Kassem is a rug trader and goes for three-month treks with camels, visiting berber villages and trading for rugs. I asked him if he had been a goat herder as a child, since I see so many boys doing this along the roads. He said yes, and as I guessed, the sheepherders walk for days with the animals, sleeping on the ground.
At the souk.

In the morning I am going to visit a Kasbah nearby where 120 families reside within the earth walls, then continue to the desert, where a friend of Kassem’s will be waiting for me and will take me by camel into the desert.

This is THE DREAM, and the more I let go into it, the more fantastic is the journey.

Monday, May 09, 2011


While still in Paris, the night before leaving, a dreamy transport came over me and a rhapsodic tingling flowed from my feet to my head—and I knew. The certainty came as a surprise because a bomb had recently blasted through the medina in Marrakech, killing tourists. So my spiritual confirmation that I would love Morocco came as relief beforehand.

Heidi of the Mountains and I arrived to the airport in Marrakech, rented our car and set off to find our riad, (hotel in a former home). I am a more experienced traveler and have been to several African countries, including Egypt (see Steven Boone Photos from Around The World), so the dusty, crowded and derelict streets did not startle me, but for my companion, having just come from sophisticated Paris, the scenery was a surprise for her eyes and maybe a bit of a shock. Before long, as we looked about for Riad Nesma, trying to discern where our riad might be, a man on a motorcycle sped up along side our car and speaking in English, asked if we needed help. He directed us to a car park and from there helped us to hire a fellow with a big wheelbarrow to carry our luggage down a narrow street to our hotel. Once we were situated, Abdel stuck to us like glue, offering to take us places. I asked him how much and he said, “No worry, just pay me what you like, and if you don’t like me, do not pay anything.” This was our introduction to Morocco.

The colors, sights and sounds are fantastic. The souks (markets), in Marrakech are a virtual smorgasbord of brightly colored shoes, textiles, sacks of spices, earthenware, aromatic tinctures and creams, mints and foods, decorated furniture and artwork. Nothing is behind glass, rather it is within touch and ready to be handled. Merchants greet you with a smile and are ready to bargain. They are expert at selling, and even though you get something for half price, later you might regret that you paid too much.
This Berber Woman is over ninety years old!
From Marrakech we drove to El Kelaa M’Gouna, a town in “the valley of roses” in the Atlas Mountains. It is an area famous for producing rose water and perfumes. Each year, the first weekend in May, is the Festival of Roses. We have arrived just in time, but the trip from Marrakech took twice as long as I anticipated, especially because of the slow driving along twisting roads over the mountains. Our hotel, called Dar Timitar is owned by two brothers, Ahmed (pronounced Ak-med) and Rachid (Rah-sheed), and sits in a spectacular situation atop a mountain, overlooking the valley and villages below.

Most tourists in Morocco are French, since it is a former colony and French is widely spoken. Ahmed speaks French and Rachid speaks English. They are both hardworking and kind. Rachid becomes our guide for the next three days and we quickly bond as he takes us hiking through fields of roses, over gurgling brooks, among walnut, almond and peach trees, through fields of wheat and barley, and into the Berber villages made of earth. He is a devout Muslim, as are most everyone, and is expert at explaining the Berber culture and traditions. The leisurely walks are wonderful, especially since the roses perfume the air while birds add their songs to the sounds of the water flowing in ditches.

Life is simple and often we see women in the morning and evenings, returning from the fields, bent over, carrying piles of fresh cut alfalfa to feed their animals. Children play, and old men sit by the roadside and daydream. When I meet other men, they tap their heart, shake my hand and say “Salaam”, which means peace is with us.

Today we leave the mountains and begin driving to the sea. Our next stop is the coastal town of Essaouira.

Note: Have arrived in Essaouira after a day of driving. It is a fantastic city on the coast that reminds me of Venice, Italy. Within the walled old town where no cars are allowed, are mazes of narrow walks lined with shops similar to those in Marrakech.  Our room is in Riad Mimouna, built at the ocean edge and the windows open to the west upon the Atlantic sea.
 The Medina of Essaouira is a UNESCO World Heritage Listed city.