Agadir (Taroudant), Morocco, December 5, 2008

     Another early call from the kitchen, but who needs sleep.  We’re on vacation!  Our tour didn’t leave until after lunch, but I had a computer class at 9:15 a.m. to learn how to make a DVD on the computer.  It was lots of fun, so you will soon be getting my movies.  I stayed after class to try to put together a movie before I forgot and when I went to the cabin to put away the computer, Ray was still in bed!  We had a quick pizza lunch before heading out for our tour to Taroudant.  Taroudant is often referred to as the “Grandmother of Marrakech.”  This small ancient town is surrounded by impressive ocher-colored ramparts that wall in the old city.  Once the capital of the Souss, the market town has an old Medina and two squares surrounded by hotels, cafes and restaurants.

     It was about and hour and a half away on a one-lane road.  We were in the basin where it was flat, but you could see the mountains in the distance.  One of the tourist stops is to see the goats in the Arganier trees.  The Argan tree grows with twisted gnarly trunks and produces leaves and fruit that the local goats find appetizing.  We saw them going and returning to the ship. 

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We also made a stop at a restaurant to use the facilities and have a drink.  We both had the local favorite, hot mint tea.

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     Our guide walked us into the Souk and made lots of turns and I don’t think we would have made it out without him.  We stopped in one area where he turned us loose for 30 minutes.  It was very interesting.  We happened upon a stall that sold wood.  We bought a letter holder made out of the Argan tree.   The young man that sold it to me kept asking me for a “souvenir”, maybe a Euro or two.  Well, if I gave him more money, I would have lost my bargain.  He kept following me and asking for something and I thought he said a pen.  I gave him a Celebrity Cruise ship pen and he thanked me and shook my hand.  I made the mistake of mentioning how nice the tissue box holders were, and another guy kept pestering me.  I will let the pictures tell the story.

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     We then walked through the square to a women’s organization that sells herbs and things.  Supposedly the women have had a rough life and are trying to help themselves by making and selling this stuff.  It was very expensive.  The goats would eat the fruit from the Argan tree and spit out the pit.  The pit was like an almond and they press them to get the oil.

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     After another stop at the restaurant, we were on our way back to the ship.  We got another look at the goats in the trees.  We got back to the ship at 6 so it was a good thing it was a ship’s tour as we were to sail at 6.  We dropped our things in the cabin and went right down to dinner.  Paul Emmanuel was our entertainment tonight.  He was a wonderful vocalist and sang a tribute to Nat King Cole.  We have 225 nautical miles to sail to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. 

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