Sunday 11 January 2009

End of Ramadan in Chaouen (Day 5)

We were awaken by the sound of drums and shouting from the street below our hotel window. It was 6 o'clock in the morning and just a perfect time for an early hike up a nearby mountain.

That was the plan, but because of all that noise from the street we quickly changed our minds. We didn't want to miss an opportunity to see a genuine Moroccan festival.
We noticed the anticipation in the local crowd already the previous evening. People were carrying around huge plates loaded with pastries ready to be baked. Also every shop owner was trying to explain to us that for the next couple of days his and almost every other shop is going to stay closed. Of course mostly they were saying that only because if we were moving on to another city soon, it was our last chance to buy something from their shop.

When we finally got up we agreed to make it an easy day around town and its surroundings, join the festival and take a photo or three.

We expected something to be going on, but Medina streets were much quieter compared to previous days. We didn't bother about that, changed our plans and slowly walked through the maze of narrow streets to the eastern part of town. From there we spotted an old ruined mosque on a nearby hill.

It was almost noon by that time and quite hot. As we didn't want to break our habit we bravely took the path leading uphill (we usually try not to, but always end up climbing some hill in the hottest time of a day).
It wasn't much of a climb and after a half an hour we were already at the top, looking down on Chefchaouen - 'The Green Capital of the World', as a local guy standing there called it. As you might imagine it had nothing to do with environmental awareness and quite a lot with large quantities of marijuana grown in the surrounding hills.

There were some people relaxing there and enjoying the view. Half of them were tourists and the other half were locals.
Soon enough we figured out this was a popular spot for hash smoking. The locals were mostly there on business i.e. trying to sell some hash. Surprisingly they were not at all pushy and telling them you don't want any, was enough.

So we just chatted with some of the guys, enjoyed the view for a while, took some photos and then went back into town.

There was still nothing going on, so we took time for a meal and just relaxed for some more.

In the evening people started gathering in the new part of the town. It seemed like everybody was there. But besides the cooked-snail stalls there was nothing interesting to see. It seemed people were just promenading up and down the street.

After a while we got tired of doing nothing and decided to go to bed and head into the mountains early in the morning. I guess I don't need to point out that we were a bit disappointed by the so called 'festival'. We figured that either we didn't find the place or we just didn't get the point of it. Who knows...


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