Morocco is definitely a destination that has amazed me to say the least! Not for their giant cockroaches nicknamed “Sarak Al zit” meaning “oil stealers” ; nor for their turkish toilets where you have to take a squatting position; nor for their beautiful women.
This summer my best friend invited me to join him in his yearly car trip to Morocco near the middle atlas mountains between Fez and Marrakech and more specifically between Khenifra and Zaouit Cheikh. I stayed in a berber village Ouaoumana (pronounced Wow-mana) and here are three things I found amazing about this village.
1- Ouaoumana or another western movie
The scenery can be compared to those we see in western movies. Wandering around, I felt like I was playing Django in “Django Unchained” by Quentin Tarantino or Blondie from “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” by Sergio Leone. The dry weather mixed with the yellowish agricultural lands and the rocky mountains on the horizon gave me the perfect scenery to be the western hero, I always wanted to become.
2- Greetings of prince and princesses
Cheek kissing or hand shanking are common in a lot of Western countries, but in Ouaoumana greetings are those of prince and princesses. People, young or old; woman or man when greeting each other, they shake hands and then kiss it in turn. What I found amazing, is that old people the age of my grand-father kissed my hands. From a middle-eastern and western culture, that would be considered disrespectful.
3- On the road to madness
Every year thousands of Moroccans pack their bags , take their cars and leave for one to two months holiday to Morocco. I experienced it this summer. From France to Morocco. It takes approximatively 2 days travelling with few stops and a lot of pain. The difficult part is waiting in Spain the boat that takes you over the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco. Going there, we waited 8 hours and on the way back 13 hours. What’s crazy about this experience, is to see all the cars mainly from Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium and even UK to go in one direction and willing to even sleep on the road.
Overall, my trip was a charming experience and it strengthen my existing bond with Morocco. I loved the western movie scenery, the humbleness and hospitality of people and the exciting yet painful road trip. The frenchcroissant was there, he saw it all and he will come back to Morocco very soon, to be continued…