LOST & FOUND IN THE BERBER VILLAGE
It is International Women’s Day, so we must surely find those grannies before day is out.
We went to the Berbers’ village to investigate and to search for any traces of grandmothers, or any spectacles or wallets in the fridge etc.
We looked into a tent marked “Elderly”, and the nasty little trolls of bad breath & hearing loss, deafness, myopia and cataract stood guard inside. There were some ugly demons sitting on a low bench who cackled and beckoned us in. Arthritis sat next to bronchitis and phlebitis, gout poked at heart & lung failure, neuropathy loitered mournfully around.. In the background we saw other foul ghouls – forgetfulness, memory loss, dementia & Alzheimer’s; running around the bare earth floor were the evil little mood-swing fairies and baby tantrums, resentments, reproaches, guilt trips, angers and tempers. Loathing and exasperation and neurosis lurked around the low table. Diverticulitis and backpain gossiped in whispers in a corner. Exema and allergies and hay fever and neuralgia bubbled in a cauldron. In the smokey fog over the fire, we saw the spirits of fear and bitterness & desperation mixing with blame and loneliness and depression. There signs of fights and recriminations, breakages and regrets. Over the mantel shelf hung a yellowing notice with an arrow – “THE END IS NIGH”. Shivering In one dark corner we could just make out the ghosts of obsession-compulsion and paranoia. psychosis and delirium. From an old Dansette record player by the sofa, we heard the scratchy sound of the Beatles singing “When I’m 64” from a vinyl disk. The smell was really wretching and vile. And our grannies were somehow locked in here, as in a prison cell or a cupboard!!!
We spied the grannies, thrown out of the tent, due to sleep rough because they had no booking for a room. “HELP” they cried, “we don’t want to do Jeeha, we want to go home to our childfen andnour children’s children and – “That’s enough” I said in a commanding voice. Pack your bags and let’s go “yalla yalla”.
A window suddenly blew open with a strong gust of wind that flew in with bright rays of morning sun and warmth. Birdsongs tweeted deliriously happy. The scents of the orange blossom and lavender and mimosa and rosemary and roses filled the space. Angels hovered and smiles abounded. A baby Berber unicorn and a gazelle trotted past the doorway. Light erupted inside the tent and laughter and joy and memories and companionship. Babies & toddlers and grandchildren giggled, injuries healed. Echoing from the Germans’ tent door we heard bellowing forth ”Freude Freude, Tochter aus Elysium” . The whole mood changed and … Can you imagine my surprise when … shshhhhh .
We took them home and they promised to be good from then on and never to run away again. And everybody lived happily ever after.
Tioute Argan Oil Field Rig & Refinery
Nobody entered yesterday’s Berber Quiz competition. You are a lamentable bunch of feckless good-for-nothing blog-a-holics. Nobody wins the goose prize which will now be rolled over to make swan terrine for the next competition.
The argan oil fields stretch from Agadir to the mountains.100 billion trees are serviced by 100 goats. Nephertitty and Cleopatra had tea here,at Tioute at the foot of the high Atlas.
The goats eat the argans and, after chewing the juicy bits,they sick up the stones of husk and kernel. This yukky bit is collected and taken to the refinery coop.
The ladies extract the nutty bit with oleic acid and free radicals, which are then roasted and crushed. 4000 tons of argan nuts makes half a pint of argan oil.
Nobody uses the argan oil for cooking because it is too expensive; but you can get excellent body creams and after-shaves if you mix in some Nivea.
He said he came from the desert with Aaargh Ghoooum rugs & carpets which are handmade with camel hair and chewing gum. The blue bits are from natural indigo dyes and the red-brown is henna. He also had some trilobites and fossilised desert fish from the mountains. You meet some every day.
What about the Grannies? The denouement will be tomorrow, the investigation is going well, but I cannot divulge any more at this stage.
With Prize winning competition
There has been an ERROR, sorry.
In the ancient Berber-Azimir language, Mar oo Kooch really means “God’s own earth”; so all the stuff about brigands & rip-offs is a calumny against Marakshis, apologies are due and are offered without reservation.
Aourika is said to mean “come back” and the latest thinking is that Berbers are from the same ethnicity as Touaregs (the Blue folk) from Northern Mali. I am still working out where they came from! One ethnography professor at University of Thombouctou says they came with Club Med, but got diverted from Ibiza.
Taroudant, in old Berber means “there has been a terrible flood and our children are all carried away or drowned”.
Did you know that Moroccan grannies are so fond of those little dogs which you carry around in a handbag, cheewawas, that the government built a special town where they get shampooed and permed, pedicured and groomed. It is kept secret and protected by the secret police. See the signpost.
Now the Berber Quiz – Have you been paying attention? The winner this week will get a free goose, as seen in the road near Taroudant.
- What is the top Berber TV show ?
- Who is the greatest Berber goalkeeper?
- If you have to entertain your Berber mother-in-law what dinner would you cook for her?
- Where are the biggest Argan oil fields & refinery plants?
- Which song got most hits on YouTube in the last Berber Pop Contest?
Please submit your entry as a “comment” via the web site. GOOD LUCK to everyone.
Return to Marrakech
The name “Marrakech” comes from the ancient Sumeirian ¬Morroo Kooch¬ which means “traveller – pass by quickly because a load of rip-off merchants & brigands will surely get you if you are not fly.” The old town medina & souk is dusty, noisy, overcrowded, busy, winding alleyways and a hive of frustration frenetic activity all around. You would not expect, the straight wide four lane highway which heads right out of town South across the endless plain, towards the distantly perceived clouds and the feet of the mountains topped with shining white snow caps and fluffy cotton wool clouds. Next stage, where the fast-flowing river begins,is called “Ourika Valley or Istika” which, in old Berber, means “he is has gone past, way back, you have no chance of catching him now”.
The road climbs slowly and begins to wind and fresh breeze cools the air as you approach the village of Asmine, which, in Berber, means “I need my dinner, I am hungry now”. Old kasbah fortification complexes cling to the side of the steep torrent as you come by Dadrart, which in Berber, means “Be quiet, I want to sleep ”.
The last stop before the tarmac runs out, is called Anfli, that in Berber means “for goodness sake leave the poor guy alone, he is gone indoors now”. The written Berber alphabet looks a bit like geometric old Egyptian/Chinese but all the signposts are in Arabic and Berber and sometimes French too. The trackway goes on to the ski resort at the summit (4,000m). Meanwhile tempting stalls and restaurants have set out tables by the rapid waters and are serving drinks and scrumptious snacks as you gaze at the snow caps and the waterfalls, bewitched & hypnotised by the roaring sounds of the flows and the eddies in the water.
On the mountain slopes, the goats are climbing the argan oil trees. The womens coop is making stress-busting concoctions with geranium & lavender essence, mixing the oil with almonds and honey for “Berber chocolate” and combining arnica, musk and sandalwood in oil to grease the flight of magic carpets. No more wrinkles, no fraying hair, no chapped lips, marvellous stuff!
There are at least 3 Atlases in Morocco: High Atlas is between the plain and the desert, and the snow melts down both sides of the mountain. Little Atlas is behind and Anti Atlas is mostly negative & cynical also Medium Atlas is way up North and rifs with the Algerians, but they closed the border.
Yves St Laurent was a famous Algerian who gardened in Morroo-Kooch and designed gowns. when he grew up his perfumes sold very well.
There are many “Riad” accommodations in town, converted for tourists. To qualify as an authentic Riad, there must be an open interior garden with an orange tree, a lemon tree, an almond tree, an olive tree, a banana, a cauliflower and a gurgling fountain in the middle with zigzag zelige tiles. Lighting in the evening is forbidden, above all, the general impression must be dark and dingy so you could bump into Lawrence of Arabia or Lord Byron at any moment with almost invisible steps and thresholds to trip you. There must be arabist knick-knacks all around -bellows, brassware, drapes, weapons, cushions rugs, ceramics etc.
There must be a police form to complete which asks for your passport number, shoe size, your school exam results and how you voted in the last elections.
We read all the newspapers: a Prince opened a major conference on civil emergency planning to help avoid accidents in the home; a government minister announced that sustainable development will be the watchword from now on; some cute kittens played on page 6.
We counted the satellite dishes and found more than the census population; after dividing this by the birth rate, it was clear that the three grannies must be either hidden in the queue for X factor or they were already on the island of Maroc Celebrity Escape Challenge. What a nightmare! They were not loved enough at home, so they wanted to end their days on a Maroc reality TV show! We cannot let this go on!!! We demand action now!!!
Travel makes you really angry, because you just cannot do things you could do when you were 25 yrs old.
Travel makes you really happy, because you can do things just like when you were 25 yrs old.
Travel makes you appreciate the comforts of home.
A HARD LESSON, TIME & TRAVEL
Truths about age and travel
It is not just for the sake of the grannies that we must share some hard facts about age and travel, many potential U3A members, SAGA affiliates and bus Freedom-pass-holders may also benefit.
The Riad B & B is an enchanting medieval luxury small manor/palace with amazing 18th & 19th century interior décor, delightful central yard, orange tree(s) and little fountain, but it is approx. 3-4 streets away from the nearest drivable road and probably requires walking up steep very narrow medieval cobbled alleys, uneven and pot-holed with stairways and slopes and steps worn down by centuries of passing donkeys and hand-carts, very narrow passageways, without pavements, unlit, with tunnels, tight dark corners, dead ends, private spaces and running drains.
With ischaemic heart failure and progressive arthritis, I don t mind the exercise of climbing back and forth from the taxi drop-off point. The problems are more with the donkey turds littering the cobbles, the hidden pot-holes in every dark corner, the missing kerbstone at the edge of a stairway, the hidden gutter, the gulley capstone, the sacks of sand & blinding laid on steps to smooth the way for carts wheels, the cart carrying heavy goods that bumps your ankles, the shoppers & workers rushing at you from every side, the careering little children racing the football down the alley, the youngsters hurrying in groups to school or college, the shop-keepers opening or closing their shutters & doors, the vendors selling soup out of doorways, the constant fear that something will inevitably trip you or skid you or hit you.
Please invent a new golf cart or tuk-tuk or motorised wheelchair to get the oldies to and fro in the medina.
DO NOT DESPISE the sensible modern hotels.
The search gains pace
Since we had so little success standing at the lamp post at the corner of the alley, waiting for certain grannies to come by, I decided to use more modern methods. Notably drilling down into the big data in the social media, which have been used to brain-wash so many grannies. Right away, I googled “missing grannies” and found 1,003,255 possibles.
Firstly we went deep into Facebook. There was a grannie who resembled Lagazelle, but not enough forensic info to nab her, she was looking for true love – which, you know, is hard to find.
Then we studied Afrique a du Talent, in depth, scanning for anyone like Meme Nannie Brock and I voted for a cool grandmother with brilliantine in her hair, but she was far older than our photofit target. Then suddenly it looked just like a vile scarlet woman, who preferred her personal gains from a land-grabbing Sodastream to any principles of justice and anti-apartheid, despite pleas from Oxfam and many NGOs, to do the right thing and terminate her sponsor role. Definitely NOT one of ours!
In desperation we went to YouTube, and it was jackpot time! There, starring right back at us, was the spitting image of Vovo Bloominpatch singing “Stay with me” mournfully with Adam Smith. We researched her agent on Google and sent her a volley of SMS contract offers to play the London Palladium or Las Vegas, but just come home grannybabycakes. The phone went direct to voicemail and the mailbox was full. Email bounced back : “no such number, no such name”.
Where are those grannies? Will we ever find them? Will they ever read a story to their grandchildren again, or make pancakes or play hide & seek?
Meknes was the capital of Morocco under Moulay Ismail, before it was relocated to Marrakesh; this was a very difficult operation in 1671, requiring enormous amounts of heavy lifting.
Founded in 1061 A.D. by the Almoravids as a military stronghold, its name originates from the Berber tribe Meknassa who dominated eastern Morocco back in the Tafilalet in the 8th century. It is in the Saïss Plain between the Middle Atlas and the massif of Zerhoun. It contains the vestiges of the Medina to the imperial city created by the Sultan Moulay Ismail (1672-1727).
Behind the high defensive walls, pierced by nine monumental gates, are twenty-five mosques, ten hammams, palaces, vast graneries, vestiges of fondouks (inns for merchants) and private houses, testimonies to the Almoravid, Merinid and Alaouite Periods.
Meknès voluminous ramparts reach 15 metres in height. It harmoniously combines Islamic and European conceptual and planning elements. Endowed with a princely urbanism, Meknes also illustrates earthen architecture (cobwork) of sub-Saharan towns of the Maghreb.
The Medina is a compact and overcrowded ensemble while the Kasbah is vast open area. The imperial city is differentiated from the Medina by its long corridors between high blind walls, the sombre maze of Dar el-Kbira, the wealth of Qsar el-Mhansha, the extensive gardens and the robust towers and bastions.
A management plan for the property is not yet available. Rehabilitation actions carried out so far, are based on a participatory safeguarding and valorisation strategy for this cultural inheritage. In 2003, the Municipal Council created a Service for Historic Monuments for the supervision and the implementation of rehabilitation programmes for local heritage in the community, to work in close collaboration with the Regional Inspection of Historic Monuments and Sites). The restoration of the monumental walls and gates as well as the rehabilitation of bastions, palaces, granaries, silos and fortresses, the restoration of the historic squares & redevelopment of the green areas are included.
Meknes contains the remains of the royal city founded by Sultan Moulay Ismail (1672-1727). The name goes back to the Meknassa, the great Berber tribe that dominated eastern Morocco as far back as the Tafilliet and which produced Moulay Idriss I, founder of the Moroccan state and the Idrissid dynasty in the 8th century AD.
The Almoravid rulers (1053-1147) made a practice of building strongholds for storing food and arms for their troops; this was introduced by Youssef Ben Tachafine, the founder of Marrakesh. Meknes was established in this period. The earliest part to be settled was around the Nejjarine Mosque, an Almoravid foundation. Markets congregated around the mosque, specializing in firearms, woodwork and metal products. Like other settlements of the time, Meknes was not fortified: walls were not added until the end of the Almoravid period.
The town fell into the hands of the Almohad dynasty (1147-1269) at the start of their rule: it was taken by the Caliph Abdelmoumen. The Great Mosque was enlarged during the reign of Mohamed Annacer. Water from the Tagma spring was brought to the town to serve the fountains, baths and mosques. At that time there were four sets of baths (hammam ), the location of which indicates how the town had spread.
During the subsequent Merinid period (1269-1374), refugees from Andalusia that fell to Christian forces helped to swell the population, among them a significant Jewish community. Following Merinid practice, Abou Youssof built a kasbah outside the old town, as well as the first of the three madrasas (Islamic schools). Other public buildings from the Merinid period included mosques, hospitals, libraries and fountains.
The founder of the Alawite dynasty, Moulay Ismail (1672-1727), made Meknes his capital city in the Hispano-Moorish style, it is impressive in both extent and construction. It is enclosed by high walls pierced by monumental gates. Within are the palace with its enormous stables, a military academy, vast granaries and water storage cisterns.
The Almoravid rulers (1053-1147) made a practice of building strongholds for storing food and arms for their troops; this was introduced by Youssef Ben Tachafine, the founder of Marrakech. Meknes was established in this period, at first bearing the name Tagrart (= garrison). The earliest part to be settled was around the Nejjarine mosque, an Almoravid foundation. Markets congregated around the mosque, specializing in firearms, woodwork, metal products, etc. Like other settlements of the time, Meknes was not fortified: walls were not added until the end of the Almoravid period.
The town fell into the hands of the Almohad dynasty (1147-1269),water from the Tagma spring was brought to the town to serve the various fountains, baths, and mosques. At that time there were four sets of baths (hammam). During the subsequent Merinid period (1269-1374) refugees from the Moorish centres in Andalusia that fell to Christian forces also helped to swell the population, among them a significant Jewish community. Following Merinid practice, Abou Youssof (1269-86) built a kasoan (only the mosque of which survives) outside the old town, as well as the first of the three medersa (Islamic schools) with which the Merinid rulers endowed Meknes.
After yesterday`s incident on the royal throne, the Control Authority on Child Access (C.A.C.A.)for Safe Humour in Internet Terminology (?), has just sent me a written warning me about scatological narratives. So, on this blog there will be no more references at all to farting, trumping, caca, poopoo, pipi, bum-bums, arses, titties, twats, burping, snot or ear wax. We may occasionally discuss bottoms, willies, fannies and bosoms, but not in a rude way.
Volvo Bloominpatch waved to me desperately from the back of a Honda moped, but she was whisked away before I could even get my handcuffs out.
The train went all the way to Fes and it was time to move on. But we could not leave the platform due to trains on the rails.
Riad Al Ghalia, fantastic décor and good cooking – oranges with cinnamon.
The medina is inside the ramparts, the king is in the palace, the sultan runs the region, the vizir runs the 5 empires, the climate is drier than the damp coastal lowlands. By the palace walls, the left side of street is muslim and the right side is jewish. The jewish quarter is always next to the palace. Built in 800 and 1400 and 1900 on hills and valleys with 128 mosques, original medieval sewers.
The Muezzin call to prayer sounds like a lot of mopeds without silencers racing round the ring road. Fes makes carpets and ceramics and leather goods. The first ever university, khoranic school, tunnel for militia to defend the town from any attack and a system of coded birds warnings to indicate which enemy is approaching.
The tanneries are the biggest and best this side of the galaxy. Unbelievers may not go in mosques because they do not know how to cleanse themselves and lack the faith and acceptance of the prophet.
Everyone in Morocco is equal with liberty & fraternity.
The grannies may have done their washing here,because some very big woolly knickers were seen hanging from a line in the medina. A fumigation and bleaching operation was witnessed on the royal wedding throne and it is feared that Nannie Brock could have farted on the seat when she tested it for the size of royal buttocks. The hunt for farting grannies with no knickers is now more urgent than ever because this could have been a treasonable offence. Neuman has called in Interpal and Unipart and ONIOSCO to aid in solving the mystery.
International humanitarian prison visitors from Omnesti Transactional have been issued with gas masks.
Tracing the nanas
Originally, there was nobody in Morocco. But 9,000 years ago, 6000 years before God spoke to Moses and 7,000 years before Jesus was born, a small travel agency in Yemen, “Berber Lux Holidays Ltd”, sent a group of nomads this way. It is not clear whether they came in from a shipwrecked cruise boat, a caravan with a faulty satnav or with Ryanair, but they liked it very much and called their relatives to join them. They brought all the things they needed – language, agriculture, tools, music, design, painting, dance, everything except for the iphone 5 and Xbox.
Down the years, they had constant trouble with incursions of day-trippers and invasions from all directions– Carthaginians, Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs etc. Over time, different warlords gained control, but none of them completely killed off the Berber culture – El Mourabitoun led the Almoravids gang to conquer Spain, Mauritania & Mali, so for a few hundred years they ruled everywhere from Barcelona to Tombouktou.
Other gangs of self-styled “Cherriffs” took over at different times– the Almohads, then the Merenids, then the Vandals from Germany and from Chelsea F.C., then Saadians and most recently, the Alawites. To terrorise the population into submission, some were extraordinary violent: Ismail claimed to have personally killed 30,000 people and to have spawned 888 children!
Anyway, they collected taxes from the people and robbed gold & salt from neighbouring lands and grew unbelievably rich.
So they built fabulous ramparts and palaces and mosques etc. Now we must return to the disappeared nanas.
Tracing the nanas clues
By hacking their mobile phones records by stalking the route of CCTV video data and by following the lost spectacles, I knew the nanas were in Maghreb. I tracked the forgotten words and the signs of fear in mens eyes.
Three grannies gone missing – feared jeeha trip
Three grannies gone missing on jeeha trip
Concern is mounting for the fate of three grannies who are feared to be on a reckless joyride looking for gratification in North Africa. The three were last seen at Gatwick airport on 25th Feb, possibly boarding a flight to Marrakech. Relatives are asking how they could have boarded without the authorities checking on their state of mind. The three women – Kiki Lagazelle (French 66yrs), Volvo Bloominpatch (Portuguese 63yrs and Nannie Brock (French 71yrs) are trans-national trouble makers. It is feared that they may already have crossed the line from mascara to henna, but it is not clear how they were radicalised. All three are addicted to instant messaging & email & internet surfing so they could have fallen under the influence of a glamour grooming site.
Scotland Yard has asked an eminent detective to lead a crack team which will fly out and search for them. Mark Neuman said “Maghreb is a glamorous place, it would not surprise me if they have been turned on a hairpin bend. On the other hand, it is thought likely that they may have forgotten what holy grail they are looking for. Neuman plans to find them by tracking the items which they have lost, misplaced or forgotten. Thus far, it is a tale of lost and found; one Kindle in a red pouch, found by Easyjet; five pairs of glasses – mostly on the person; several chargers and a brace of scarves – abandoned for the local gods, one iphone left in taxi. Neuman says “Unfortunately, extreme hedonism among the very elderly is increasingly common – especially with the baby boomers.¬
We went to the place at the end of the world and looked at Berber silk rugs and painted wooden doors, quite memorable.
Yves Saint Laurent woz ere. Berbers were ere 9000 years before. Majorelle gardens,Bahia palace, mint teas, marzipan biscuits with orange & lemon. Soup of carrot and orange, harira and tagine with lamb and seven vegetables. Hot bananas in honey & orange & lemon juice.