Sunday, July 17, 2011

Morocco - a country of extremes

I suppose that many countries could claim this title:  "un pays d'extremes" or "a country of extremes."  Our guide made that statement about Morocco, and I also saw this description on a website about Morocco.  You can find many extremes in Morocco as I will attempt to describe below:

1.  Weather:  You can have extremely cold temperatures, especially in the Atlas mountains in the winter; however, the Sahara Desert also covers a large portion of the country.

2.  Morocco is also very much a mix of old and new.  If you have read other posts, you have a read quite a bit about the old part of Morocco.  Morocco also has all modern conveniences, and people are just as attached to their cell phones in Morocco as we are in the United States.

3.  Small villages and large cities.  The small villages, such as the Berber village we visited, were very quaint and the people were very friendly.   In the large cities, the people are also very nice, but they do not necessarily go out of their way to ask you if you are doing ok.  When I seemed lost in Fes, people would come up to me and ask me if they could help me.  In Marrakech, nobody did that.

Sometimes you see a mix of extremes at the same time.  For example, in the small Berber village we stayed at, there are only 70 families, and about 300 people total.  Many people had cell phones, even though they use their donkeys to fetch most of their cooking and drinking water from the local well.

This picture that stands out and provides a visual for the extreme contrasts that can be found in Morocco.  Right next to a crop of corn, which needs quite a bit of water to grow well, you have a wall of cactus, which the Berbers use to divide properties and crops.

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