shepherds with their sheep,
or riding off into the far distance,
houses with fruit trees blooming like a puff of smoke from an invisible chimney,
children playing, women washing clothes,
chicken on rooftops that look like fields,
baby burros and bee boxes,
and who knows what all else?
James asked if he could photograph a bunch of boys we met along the road, and then he showed them the photo and a video as well. When we saw that they had an old board with Qur’anic verses written on both sides–just as we had seen in the Nejjarine fondouq in Fès–we asked if they would read it to us, and they did!
Here’s the link to the video on Vimeo:
Boys reciting the Qur’an
Brahim and Ahmed wanted to stop for lunch at about 11:30, but we had just had breakfast at 9, so we wanted to push on. Later, when we stopped for lunch, we understood the timing better: they had brought the ubiquitous pressure-cooker and tea kettle and proceeded to make first tea and then a bit of a feast while we lay about.
All very imperial luxury: we didn’t quite know what to do with ourselves. Then Ahmed needed to go off to the souq across the river,
so we set off with Brahim to climb up to one of the ribats on the mountain-tops through the valley. But first there was quite a lengthy walk back along the valley floor, over the creek, past the sheep, the drying laundry, the stork…
The ribat was still occupied by a single elderly guardian, set up as a quasi-museum as to how life there used to be lived.
The central living space included a gas stove with the necessary kettle, a kerosene lamp, food basket, an old couscousier…
plus a hand mill, with a water-bag and some long underwear hanging from the wall.
The “rooms” were a little claustrophobic, to say the least, but the corridor seemed to wind around forever, and you could climb this “ladder”
It’s a little hard to see in the photos, but these depressions in the rock are dinosaur footprints (Jeremy’s crouching in one footprint). I like the way the dinosaurs seem to have stepped off the rock into thin air.
We also passed some women spinning, using something like a drop spindle without the drop–a spindle spun on the ground.
When they saw how fascinated I was (and we tried to explain that I spin with a wheel but can’t work a drop spindle), they let me take a video of the process (screenshot above).
The evening light was quite magical, even if we were tired. Jeremy was drooping, so I got up on the mule and he fell asleep leaning back against me, but he woke up in time for a triumphal return to the gite, leading the mule himself.