Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The palms of Skoura

Today we decided to do a little tour of the area around the hotel with an English speaking guide, Kamal. Seamus has a really bad head cold and is snotting everywhere.

We set off with Kamal and two of the dogs from next door. As we left the hotel we were immediately in an area of date palms with people up the trees harvesting them. The Moroccan olives were also being harvested and many of the trees were really heavy with the olives. Usually someone was up the tree with a stick while sheets were spread beneath the trees and others gathered up the olives. The yield is 16 to 24 litres of oil per 100 kilos of olives. We tried to take a picture of the olive harvest but the women didn’t want their pictures taken and the men with the women were pretty adamant.

We walked along the narrow paths bordering the fields passing almond trees and lots of pomegranate trees with the last of the fruit rotting. We did pick one pomegranate and ate it. Delicious Lots of alfalfa is grown for the animals and we saw lots of broad beans and spring onions growing as well. Everywhere there are channels of water flowing at the borders of the fields. Apparently the week is divided into hours and depending on the size of your parcel of land you would get more water. The channels are diverted with little mud dams being made. Families have maybe 5 or 6 parcels of land but then that is split up as the parents die. Just like everywhere else some of the younger people are migrating in to the cities. One of the really cool things was watching quince rolling down one of the streams.

Families are very close and whole extended families live together. Kamal was telling us that when he gets married his wife will move in with him and his parents as well as his brother. He has four sisters so they will go off and live with their husbands and their parents. We passed several abandoned Kasbahs or large homes. Sometimes they are abandoned as the mud and straw wears out or sometimes there are too many people in the extended families so they build elsewhere.

We walked around a cemetery where there were no headstones or markers at all. During all of this we were accompanied by the two dogs who kept any other village dogs at bay. Finally we ended up at an auberge or little French hotel where we sat on the rooftop with an amazing panorama of the area with the palm trees and lots of tabletop mountains in the background. We sipped our mint tea and ate dates with the dogs flaked out beside us.

Then it was back to our hotel. There continued to be lots of streams everywhere and we passed several women doing their washing in the streams. It’s time that I did washing but we aren’t anywhere long enough for it to dry.

The rest of the day was spent getting our blog caught up. Dinner tonight was zucchini and celery soup, but it was a subtle amount of celery followed by a cucumber salad with mint, some eggplant and some grilled cauliflower. The main course was tiny merguez lamb sausage, chicken and rice with peas. Dessert was crème caramel. I’ll be glad to get back near the sea and enjoy fish again.

Tomorrow we get up early as it’s time for the Marrakesh express!


Country Girl said...

Excellent description of your day and especially enjoy hearing of other people's culture as well as the food.

Jenny C said...

mmm fresh Moroccan olives...the descriptions of the food make me hungry. I bet seeing the doggies made you miss Blackstar a bit :)