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There are wizards everywhere. Seriously.

MOROCCO | Monday, 8 February 2010 | Views [775]

Remember those Choose Your Own Advenutre books, where at the end of
the chapter you reach a fork in the road and depending on whether you
go left or right you end up on page 79 (in the mud) or page 132 (in
the clouds)?  Well, I just walked through one.

The Rif Mountains in Morocco are a misnomer.  They should be called
the Reefer Mountains.  with 75% of agricultural land given over to Kif
production, it is little wonder there are so many people dressed like
wizards.  it makes for a curious land straight out of a fantasy novel,
laced with generous helping of happiness.

I cobbled together a hand drawn map, complete with not-to-scale
squiggly lines, and put a bagful of grins in the top of my pack for
easy access.. A few hours straight up a valley aimed directly at the
clouds I had quickly acquired a travelling companion who delighted in
describing all facets of local herbs, geology, and fauna.  Problem is,
he was flipping between Arabic, which i don't speak, French, which i
barely speak (and with his accent it wasn't much to pretend it was
Arabic anyway), and Spanish, which i make up from the little French
that i know by applying my best espanish accent.  But it wouldn't have
mattered if he was speaking english anyway, because when he grinned,
it all melted into wizardry. Climbing through the high pass lead to
much ogling at the views that span right to the edge of  this fantasy
land and across the Mediterranean sea to Espain. In  these mountains,
the local villages sing to the sporadic quasi-rythm of hash being
not-so-delicately belted out of the raw kif crop. With deadly views
and perilous drops scattered down vertical limestone scree
precipitously coated with wild rosemary, I tiptoed carefully across
the scent......... and onto the Pont de Dieu.  A natural bridge
elegantly carved out of such a dramatic limestone gorge i have never
seen.  Just gorgeous.  must be why they call them gorges, i guess.
Pictures can't do this scene justice, nor can a few misplaced words.
Lunch of fried fish and tomatoey-cumin concoctions with local farmers
and a staggering climb up through the gorge, I camp for my final night
on this wizardly wend underneath the stunning snow-capped Jbel Larkaa,
grinning down at me from all  of its 2250 metres.  Right, and good
nights kip and i'll climb you tomorrow, I giggled through the chilling
air to myself, knowing full well there was no track leading to the
top.  Well, the morrow came, but it was in disguise.  I couldn't see
it.  Actually, I couldn't see anything.  Visibility at 30 metres, an
overdose of sleet, rain and  bone-shattering winds, I took the four
hour climb back down to arrive waddling in sponge-like fashion into
the delectible mud-hole that is the village of Bab Taza, and hence
ended the entry wend.

this is gonna get good.

hugs and love from Morocco.



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