June 23, 2009
At 10:30 a.m. we departed from Casablanca to Ifrane. The trip to our host university was a four hour ride traversing the country on toll road highways and local streets. We headed north towards Rabat, then East, towards Meknes, passing through Khemisset. Finally, we drove South, passing El Hajeb and arriving in Ifrane.
The diversity of the landscape, agriculture and villages was striking:
burning of trash; dried out vegetation; orange-brown soil; cacti and palm trees of all sizes and shapes; a coastline littered with huge freight ships; cork tree forests; olive trees; vineyards; donkeys and sheep everywhere; sunflower fields in bloom; harvested wheat fields; creeks and canyons; a sign advertising 4 months of free internet for only 49 dirhams; a constant flow of transportation of liquid gas and propane via trucks.
Suddenly, - the words "Allah el o watan almelik" (?) are carved onto a huge mountain slope in front of us. Our driver translates it loosely as "Allah is the King of Morocco".