Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Morocco Journal - Part 7: The Trip to Ifrane!

So, as some of my readers might know from my Twitter and/or Facebook, I attended a Moroccan wedding in Ifrane, Morocco this weekend (the best wedding I've ever attended!). Well, it wasn't exactly in Ifrane, but somewhere near it. But on our way to the wedding, we stopped by Ifrane, which is considered The Switzerland of Africa. It truly is, folks, it truly is! It has these lush green plants and trees all over, beautiful waterfalls, and when it snows there in winter, it's even more stunning. (I saw pics from the locals.) Read below for the details of our trip to Ifrane, and wait a short while (maybe a day?) to read about Moroccan weddings and the town.
Ifrane, Morocco (a Google image)
Some of you prolly know I love weddings and wedding ceremonies and just the atmosphere of weddings in general (feel free to read about how our weddings in Swat take place. Or used to many years ago, but still the same for a lot of families). So I was dying of excitement ever since the host family told us we'll be going to a wedding soon--and that we'd be going to Ifrane on our way to the wedding! Ifrane, as I mentioned, is known for its beauty, and I thought nothing would or could compare to Swat in its beauty so I was like, meh, whatevz. Can't be any more beautiful than Swat. Swat, again, as some of you might know, is considered the Switzerland of Asia and "the paradise on Earth." Clearly, any place that's beautiful, the world decides to call it Switzerland or Paradise, so there are many mini-Switzerlands and Paradises around the world, and Swat and Ifrane are among them.

Swat, Pakistan (a Google image)
Ifrane and Swat are both sources of water for their countries and known for their beautiful water rivers, streams, and lush greenness. I highly recommend googling "Ifrane, Morocco" and "Swat, Pakistan" to see some beautiful images of the places. If you go to Pakistan, your trip there is incomplete until your visit to Swat; similarly, a trip to Morocco is incomplete without a visit to Ifrane. Since Morocco is in Africa, a lot of people wrongly assume that it must be scorching hot in Morocco (because, duh, it's like that all over Africa, right? Wrong) and that there must be no water here and no greenness anywhere. Totally wrong.
So I hope I've convinced y'all to see Swat and Ifrane at least once in your lifetime.

On our way to the wedding. The following photos are mostly while we were in Ifrane. 

Just some building we saw while waiting for something. Not Ifrane yet.
Ifrane


People visit this particular spot for the waterfall.
Ahhhh the waterfall!!
Roommie on her horse inside the fall area
Roommie again

Isn't this cool!!!

The waterfall!
How the Horse-rides ended

Well, they ended horribly. Just horribly, folks. Our host family had made an agreement with the ... horse guides? (What are those people called who guide the horse you're riding?) Well, the agreement was that we'd each pay 50 dirhams ($1 = 8.53 Moroccan dirhams). The guides agreed.
BUT! The guides just took us all over, had us try all these different hills that our horses had to climb up and down. And, boy, did those horses climb up and down the hills, and my horse even fell into the water at one point. It was scary, but I survived.

So about an hour later, we give our 50 dirhams to our respective guides. My guide turned out to be un-cool with that amount while I think at least one of the others accepted it and moved on to another potential rider. And then another guide returned and was like "Oh no, uh-uh, I'm not okay with this price either then if my buddy isn't." Host family gave them more money ... then a little more ... but they kept returning for more, and they didn't leave us alone till we had to drive off and say "to hell with y'all." Roommie and I took pics of the confrontation between the guides and the host family, lawl.


Some verbal fighting took place.
They wouldn't leave our car alone either!
And More IfraneThe following were taken mostly near/around Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco.



Didn't get a good shot of the name, but ... it's legible nonetheless, eh.





 On top of the above bridge was a woman doing henna for really, really cheap (10-20 dirhams). So roommie, host sisters, and I got some.

Roommie getting her henna done.

Me & my henna! The artist being generous and making my hands prettier with some green glitters over the henna

Little Host sister N. with her little henna!
Host sister M. with her henna

Totally random but too cool! On our way to ... I'm tempted to say the place in Ifrane that serves as the source of water


There's a water truck there taking water from the place


Anyone can come here and drink and take the water.

I'll end with a video.

video

Okay, folks, that should be all for now.  But . . .

Coming up: the wedding experience, pictures of the village where the wedding took place (including a photo of the style of bathroom we had to use), and so on. So stay tuned!

6 comments:

  1. Loved it. It been ages since I visited your blog. I must say I missed reading wonderful and most importantly informative stuff out here.

    Eagerly waiting for the wedding bit.

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    Replies
    1. Great to hear from you, Sepo! Thanks for reading :D

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  2. Wonderful. Enjoyed reading this piece. After reading the Ist part few days back I missed the previous five and am now looking for time to read those also. One positive thing with these blogs are that these are simple and the writer carries readers along with her. I feel that these could be published as a travelouge.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Waseem! I'm glad to hear you're finding them worth a read! :)

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  3. This place is really beautiful.I also liked the old picture of Swat valley you have posted. Unfortunately our Swat doesn't seems like it used to be...poverty,militancy, floods etc have make the map bit changed. We can't go for hiking in side areas because of security concerns :(

    Any ways lovely post as usual. I also shared this post and few other about Morocco with my bhabi and she really enjoying the way you presenting the pictures of her home land :)make her miss Morocco!!
    Bravo!!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kiran!
      YES! I should post some newer pictures of Swat and how much it has been destroyed, thanks to natural disasters and man-made ones like the Taliban! Still, despite so many of these disasters, many parts of Swat remain stunning! I went to Bagh Derai recently, and whoa! It was breathtaking! And that's not even one of the places people are always citing as beautiful parts of Swat!

      Awww! Has your bhabi visited Morocco recently? How does she feel living in Pakistan (is that where you guys are based?)? Is she happy there? I'm getting homesick in Morocco :p

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Dare to opine :)

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