Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Monkey Mahem

Phrase of the day today is: "that monkey stole my peanuts"

because indeed, a monkey did steal my peanuts, but lets start from the beginning.

We woke up and had breakfast on the Terrace as usual, we then headed out with Abdul, our driver, about an hour and a half into the Atlas Mountains to go to a Berber market. We had anticipated rows of women selling their handmade crafts and men trying to sell us hand woven carpets. But when we got there we realized, the Berber markets, are for the Berber people. Meaning that they sell the sorts of things that the Berber people want, second hand clothes, piles of trash and treasures, sheep and goats, used pots and pans, fruits and vegetables, etc, etc. We spent a while wandering around and taking in the people going about their daily lives, shopping, chatting, bargaining.

Our next stop was the Cedar forests where many macaque monkeys live. When we pulled into the visitor area, monkeys lined the paths and scampered on the hut roofs. Horses also lined the road, laden with bright saddles and bells. A man sold peanuts outside one of the small huts, yep, this was a major tourist setup. We marveled at the monkeys and laughed while they grabbed peanuts from the tourists hands. I joined the game and bought a bag, turned around, and next thing I know, the bags gone. Yep, "that monkey stole my peanuts". It ran over to me, jumped up, grabbed the bag and ran away all within the span of about five seconds. Those monkeys were smarter then I thought. I stood there for a few seconds not even realizing what had happened and then I raged, I watched the greedy monkey rip open the bag, sit at the base of a tree and shove all the peanuts in his mouth. A few daring baby monkeys came close enough to be aggressively grabbed and pushed away by the greedy peanut stealer. Well, that was the end of that.

We had lunch at a cafe in a town called Ifrane which could have been any town anywhere in the world, small, touristy, lots of gardens, etc. and then started to head back, stopping at a lake on the way where cows stood, stomach deep grazing at grass that grows under the water, very unusual sight.

We visited the Merinid tombs where we got a full view of Fes as call to prayer rang out.

We now sit on the Terrace drinking mint tea and eating biscuits looking over the medina and chatting to the Riad worker Simo.