We’re back with more Morocco this week, albeit a day late. Due to technical difficulties Thursday’s blog coming at you on a Friday! But, like we said, we’re here to talk Morocco!
Merzouga sits close to the Algerian border in eastern Morocco and was our gateway to the Sahara. The city itself is ancient, literally. As we prepared to head out on the Sahara we walked around the city.
One thing we didn’t mention last week when we talked about the Sahara itself was the wild drop in temperature when the sun goes down. The drop is about 12 degrees and you can feel it instantly! Brrrr!
Tangier sits a the mouth of the Straight of Gibraltar, which, not to be redundant, is the gateway to the Mediterranean Sea! The Straight of Gibraltar separates Spain and Morocco, and is just 14.3km wide at its narrowest point.
When we got to Tangier, the sea was a welcomed sight! We visited the Caves of Hercules (does anyone remember the photo we posted of the caves? We still can’t stop seeing a face in it!)
It was awesome to feel the ocean air after spending time in the desert! The city is picturesque, sitting at the edge of the bright blue sea! We didn’t have much time in Tangier so we didn’t make it everywhere, but there are so many awesome sights to see. Now, we didn’t see all of these places, but we heard they are some of the go-to spots! Check out the Lighthouse Cape Malabatta, Playa Blanca, and Achakkar Beach if you’re looking for that kind of thing, and Grand Socco or Dar El Makhzen if you’re more of a city-goer!
Casablanca is home to the largest mosque in Morocco, actually, in all of Africa. Hasan II Mosque was completed in 1993 and has a towering minaret reaching 210 meters high, now we’re talking tall! The mosque is one of few you can visit as a non-muslim. The rule is you may visit by guided tour, and only outside of prayer times.
So, at home we have Goats on the Roof, and in Morocco, they have Goats in Trees! Our crew got a few laughs from the goats climbing and bouncing about in the Argan trees. They are drawn to the fruit of the Argan Tree, and yes, this is the same tree Argan Oil is extracted from. In fact, that’s exactly why the goats are here in the first place!
The Argan Trees are gnarled, prickly, and tangled up. Goats are agile, and learned quickly how to navigate the trees! So, initially, the goats were employed to pick, and eat the fruits which would pass through (yikes!) the goats themselves, allowing the farmers to pick up the nuts to extract the oils. The most time consuming, and labour intensive part of the process is to remove the flesh from the nuts, and the goats were ready and willing to do so – what a team! Modern technology has cut the goats out of the process, and removed the “goat-y” smell from the prized oil, but the tribes of goats still live among the trees!
So, we’re a little bit in love with Marrakech! Okay, a lot in love! We spent an additional two nights here as we readied ourselves for our Moroccan departure. We shared a bit about the look and feel of Marrakech last week, but we didn’t speak much on the sound of Marrakech!
The centre square of the medina (the old town) is home to all day, and all night, percussion. Traveling the world listening to the rhythms of different nations, and the stories of relationships with music and rhythm allows our team to pick out something different quickly! Our crew was impressed by the unique rhythms of Morocco, particularly the acoustics of the old towns.
The way the sound waves reverberated and amplified through the streets, alleyways, and arches that surrounded us was killer! It really makes you realize, on a new level, that the space you are practicing or preforming in has so very much to do with the sounds you are producing!
Morocco, it was a slice! This week we have some of our studio crew heading to Summer NAMM in Nashville. See you back here next Thursday!