A moment of observation. I was just reading about my trip to Morocco last year as I stumbled upon this memory. I decided I want to share it with you. It’s from the small village Imlil, in the nature reserve Toubkal.
I arrived the day before after a long taxi ride along a narrow road, circled along the mountain often without fences between the dry mud-road and the precipice towards the river valley. This was all after a nine hour trip by night train to Marrakech from the town Asilah, a small town which used to be occupied by pirates right by the coast of the Atlantic ocean.
Imlil is one of many berber villages in the Atlas mountains, situated in the mountain just above a river valley. Despite the few houses there were people everywhere and everything one would need for a trek can be bought in the shop down the road.
My second day in town I sat beside the road, looking over the center of the village. The houses were built from the mud that surrounded them and they almost disappeared into the surroundings. It was dusty, and when some large rain drops fell to the ground they were brown and stained my clothes. The clear ocean in Asilah and the busy streets in Tanger felt as a rare and distant dream.
Beneath me was a small stream of water coming from the mountain. Women and children bathed, washed clothes and dishes. Bags of garbage was lying all around the water, some closed and some opened. Birds picked up trash and spread it all over the ground.
Two men walked pass me, carrying a freshly butchered sheep each. The taxi driver who took me here from Marrakech had told me that there was no place where one could get as fresh meat as in Imlil. He would stop himself on the way back to get some.
It is a memory that I keep close to my heart. Sitting there, with a bad stomach flu, in the heat. There were lots of thoughts running through my mind, and I knew from deep within myself that life can never be complete without these moments. Far away from home, all alone, discovering a culture totally different from the one I come from.
There was no artificial light in Imlil. At night everything was pitch black, and as the sun rose early in the morning the donkeys and goats seemed to have a fierce conversation with each other, at times interrupted by some roosters. Sheep were grazing beside the road and mountains sorrounded the village from all sides.
Sure there were some other tourists from time to time, all of them on their way to trek in the mountains.