Middle Atlas to the Edge

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Dec 162011

A long day on the road took us through the beautiful Atlas Mountains. From deep in the Medina of Fez up into the Atlas mountain peaks. A coffee stop in a mountain resort, (The Vale of Morocco) where the rich and powerful Arab elite (Saudi Princes, Moroccan Industry Czars) have retreats to savor pristine mountain air and glistening snow covered forests dotted with French Alpine chalet styled mansions. From that snow summit we drove steadily downward out of the mountains past nomads and their camps. After watching nomads breaking fast along their paths to eat their simple fresh baked breads, we had our lunch at a flamboyant but delightful restaurant in the middle of the nowhere. We ended our long day in Erfoud. Just at dusk we passed above desert oasis, home of the famously expensive mejool dates. The vast contrasts and changes we had experienced seemed unreal as we arrived tired in Erfoud at the edge of the Sahara.

After prolonged tribal strife, the region around Erfoud was finally brought under control more than 20 years after the French colonization of Morocco began. To control the forceful and freedom-loving Berbers of the region, a major military settlement was established here. By this period Morocco was considered completely under French command the entire region came to be known as Erfoud. Today Erfoud is dominated by the presence of the military and is a very affluent, attractive and bustling modern metropolis symbolizing the strength and power of the military in present day Morocco,