Still in the High Atlas on our Journey from Marrakech to Erg Chebbi, we ripped pieces from round bread and dipped it in Argan Oil – mmm – nutty oily goodness. In the past, the nuts were picked and processed from goats’ droppings (urgh…). Luckily for us they are now
most likely harvested directly from the bushy trees that grow wild, whose deep root systems hold the soil together and the desert at bay. Have you seen the photos of goats standing in trees in Morocco? Well those are Argan Trees. Today, the nuts continue to be cracked manually – the kernels destined to become culinary oil are toasted before grinding to make the oil extra tasty, while those heading for cosmetic pot are left al naturale.
Our driver was eager to pass on the fact that the argan oil industry in Morocco is mostly the domain of womens’ co-operatives.
In the 1.2 hours it took us to drive from the High Atlas to Ait Ben Haddou I managed to take 60 photographs from a moving vehicle, while B.H. managed 14. We can see who the compulsive one was/is – this is how the changing landscape looked from my very limiting seat in the back left of the Prado.
Our driver in an attempt to keep to schedule, had an allergy to photo stops unless they were of what he deemed to be a suitable subject, so when he pulled over voluntarily we knew we were in for something special. We walked to a rocky knoll and looked out across the green Ounila River Valley. In the distance was Ait Ben Haddou whose photo I captured through the window of a nearby abandoned building.
Soon we would be following in the footsteps of Jesus and Lawrence of Arabia, Ali Baba or Cleopatra, in a cinematic back drop kind of way. It does look vaguely biblical – don’t you agree?
Next week we will take a walk through the Unesco Heritage listed site of Ait Ben Haddou, an exotic 17th Century fortified village that clambers, higgledy piggledy up a dry pebbly hill.
Until then make sure you visit BUDGET TRAVELERS SANDBOX where Travel Photo Thursday reveals travel photos from near and far.
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