Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Morocco - Southern Edge of the Sahara

Today we had a short drive to M’Hamid, the last village outpost before entering the Sahara desert. Along the way, we stopped in Tamegroute, to tour a library with Arabic manuscripts on the Koran as well as medical and botanical tomes dating back to the 12th century. The kids got a primer on both Arabic and the more ancient Berber alphabets, and had their names transcribed in each language. We also toured a typical Berber community dwelling where the locals produced Moroccan pottery. It was a spectacular maze of almost underground adobe tunnels and houses (to keep cool from the sweltering summer heat). Once again, the simplicity of living conditions, the lack of basic comforts that we often take for granted and the overall hard life that these people live was a good eye opener for all of us – particularly as we headed to off a luxury resort style Riad with all the ammenities. The kids wasted no time playing in the pool while we had a relaxing poolside lunch - and finally, a welcome break from chicken tangines!

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