No sooner had we set food on terra firma than we noticed that there were cafes everywhere, predominantly patronised by men I might add. No sandwiches or snacks, just lots of good coffee and Moroccan whisky, with an obscene amount of sugar. Sugar in whiskey, I hear you ask? Well, Moroccan whiskey is the term used for the ubiquitous mint tea here. As it is a Muslim country and, in theory at least, alcohol is not served, this is conjunction with the proliferation and abundance of mint, has given this country its famed and of drunk beverage. Not a bad “drop” I might add, although with the shameless amount of sugar that goes into each glass, one soon reaches saturation point…..pun, very intended!
And then there was the funky blue medina……not to be confused with the cold one, of course! Chefchaouen, is a small mountain-top village, also in the Rif mountains. It is laid back, easy going, pretty in the real sense of the word, and …..painted blue, and various shades of it! In pockets it really looks a little like the Greek Islands, without the sea. We stayed inside the picturesque medina; which perched up high, was surrounded by picturesque mountains. Another little treasure that has made our “We’ve found paradise” list.
“Reefer – that’s got the attention of a few of you I’m sure! The word “reefer” actually comes from Morocco. In the Northern part of the country are the Kif mountains, an area renowned for its marijuana cultivation. In these parts its called “Rif”, and quite often comes in the form of hashish, the compressed and compacted form of Mary-J. Over the years the hippies that have come and gone from the area in search of good dope started referring to it as “reef” and from there to “reefer”. It’s the Rif in the Kif.
As Alex and I have a penchant of doing, we rocked up to this funky blue medina on the opening day of the Alegria Festival We struggled to find accommodation at first, but walking up and down those steep alleyways for a few hours eventually paid off ( read…..we were eventually exhausted). I could totally see the laid back veneer of this town, but for the three days we were there, it rocked to the tunes of Cuban and Spanish artists, as well as Moroccan ones. Street performers, including fire breathers, made the place come alive. It was all free, and let’s face it, who is not into free entertainment. Foreigners mixed with locals as well as other Moroccans from all over the country, and a good time was had by all.
Coffee and tea are so cheap here, and one of our favourite pastimes has fast become people watching, whilst sipping on a mighty fine drop!
Dedication: We would like to dedicate this blog to our dear friend Harry Kontos. Harry, it would be impossible to write about all of the environmental damage we have seen in the last 11 months without dedicating an entire blog to it. I will say this, however, we are wrecking our world, and we are wrecking it fast, and the effects are profound! What saddens us most and has us particularly perplexed is watching supposedly intelligent, educated and first world individuals treat their world like an ash-tray. And here, we are NOT only referring to cigarette butts. If we keep adopting the “she’ll be right Jack” attitude, and waiting for the next person to deal with it…….we will soon find that by slowly hacking away, and killing our Earth and “its contents”, that there will be NO next person! It’s time to wake up and smell the roses!
“It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis” – Margaret Bonnaro.
Next: Fez, Azrou and Azilal. Our attempt to wander away from the beaten track.