Monday, June 16, 2008

Smashed in a Kasbah....

It was an amazing sight flying into Marrakech in the late afternoon. The desert looked endless and the light danced over the wind blown ripples. The airport terminal was completely white and Arabian music filled the air as we walked past the glaring eyes of the customs dude…. It felt like we were in a huge mosque!

I’ve always envisoned myself wandering through Morocco and in an in an instant after I left the terminal, I felt right at home here in this ancient North African country.

We filmed a few quick intros coming out of the airport and then met our driver Sabeel… we loaded up the truck and began our 2 hour drive to the mighty Atlas Mountains! We passed many villages and interesting sights along the way and we stopped at a few beauty spots to film some of my first glimpses if this place called Morocco.

We stayed at one of the oldest Kasbahs in the area. Yes, a Kasbah is a lodge of sorts.
Kasbah is translated into “a fortress or large home”…. I cannot get the Thin Lizzy song out of my head, where Phil Lynott screams ..” smashed in a Kasbah!....” The only problem was that there is no alcohol allowed as this is a full on muslim country. So another song from Phil and crew came to mind...... “Got to give it up…..”

We arrived to the lodge an hour before sunset and the light was beautiful! The Kasbah was built in the 1930’s and has a great, historic feel and all the Moroccan details you can imagine. Cultural preservation is the main goal here in terms of sustainability although the lodge is implementing many great details such as solar and wind power. They are already composting and buying everything local in terms of fruits, vegetables and building materials….

The rooms are all modern and it is surreal to come into this ancient looking Kasbah and then find all the modern conveniences of a fine hotel in New York. My room even had an ipod deck and speakers!
The view from my window was a snowcapped mountain with a red fa├žade village set precariously on a cliff under the looming peak.

Berber people have lived in the area for centuries and were really the settlers of present day Morocco and of course , the Atlas Mountains.
They are living like they have for 1000 years here in the mountains, growing food, raising farm animals and practicing the most beautiful of tradition and ceremony. I had a chance to trek into one village far into a valley which seemed forgotten by modern civilization except for the new electricity brought in only two years ago…

I sipped mint tea in an elders home looking for the village, while sitting on a bunch of hand woven rugs and blankets dyed with eye blinding reds and yellows. I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else in the world at the moment, but looking out from that small Moroccan window into history. Truly and experience I will not soon forget.

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