10 January 2013

Walk out West Figuig
More Palmeries  Trying to stay out of Zenaga
Irrigation and Pools
Back home

Today is our last day in Figuig.  It is a nice place as said on other days, and today we wanted to see the last compass point.  We have done South, East & North, so we are going west.

One of the 200.000 palmtrees of Figuig

One of the 200.000 palmtrees of Figuig

The walk out of town was fairly quick in this direction, and it wasn’t long until we had left all the buildings behind us.  There is really nothing out this way.  The mountain range goes off in a North Western direction, but that was a fair hike away, and we just followed the road.  Occasionally a construction vehicle went past, and they were digging a deep trench beside the road.  Other than that there was nothing.  Just barren land.  No trees, buildings or even power lines.  A few kilometres out of town there were some semi-nomadic buildings set up.  These had a stone base with stone walls about a metre high, with a tent roof above them.  The occasional donkey or goat was wandering around, but there was very little signs of life.  They must have all been inside watching cable television, as the satellite dishes were set up outside as well.
Realising that this was not the way to go, we headed up a small rise beside the road.  On reaching the top, we found a group of workers in a hollow on the other side having a quick brew.  I think they were as surprised to see us, as we were to see them!  From here though, we could see that the road wound its way south back towards the end of the palmeries, so we continued on.  Off to one side there was a weird complex.  There were a group of domed buildings painted in pink and yellow.  We didn’t walk past a gateway for it, so we don’t actually know what it was all about.  It could have been military, disguised as some weird and wacky buildings, It could have been a factory painted by school children, or it could have been an architects dream created out in the desert for a new palmerie.  We just don’t know.

Inside the palmerie

Inside the palmerie

By now, we had come across a dry riverbed.  Stopping for some photos (It was more interesting than the dusty rocky landscape we had been walking over) a woman came up to us.  She seemed quite friendly, and pointed out how far she had walked (with a full load of stuff on her back) to get here and that she was continuing into town, but we could go through the palmeries to look around.  This was nice, considering the barbed wire fence beside us!  As she continued on, we headed along the riverbed.  The place must flood from time to time, as there was a large wall made up of stones in a chicken wire cage.  This made an easy walking path.  Untill we hit the palm trees.  There were also the occasional olive tree hanging over our impromptu path.  Stopping for lunch, we had an unexpected visitor, one of the workers in the palmerie came up asking for cigarettes.  Not sure if it is the influence of the French or not, but this is a common occurence in Morocco.  People just asking for cigarettes.  Still, Makanoushki.

Walking on, there were palms and paths on one side of the riverbed, and nothing on the other.  We did come across a shepherdess with her flock of goats.  She was trying to move them on to a different section, but at that point there was a lot of garbage in the riverbed.  This included offcuts from the palm trees.  She had a lot of problems getting them to move away from it.  It also made us wonder what else they were eating…

Great reflections

Great reflections

By now, we were a far way down the side of the palmerie, and decided to cut back in towards Zenaga, but we wanted to avoid the town, and just wander in the palms.  We did hit the outskirts of town, and wandered through a couple of alleyways.  Dead ends, overlapping buildings and bikes whizzing through places so dark we wished we had a torch!  Still, we made it through in one piece and out the other side.

Now we were back in the palmeries proper.  Trees, mud walls and (swimming) pools.  We knew there were exotic diseases in the water here.  Which is a pity, as in Summer they would be perfect to swim in.  Even now the reflections are stunning.

We can deliver water anywhere!

We can deliver water anywhere!

As we were walking, we came across more irrigation canals.  These are stunning.  It is amazing how you can take one source of water, and use gravity to separate it and funnel it all over the place.  The new concrete we were now walking along was done in 1996.  It had two levels to separate the water in different directions.  However occasionally there were other canals for the water at different levels.  Along the way we also came across wells made in 1984 (thank you whoever wrote the dates in the cement as it dried) however these were already dried.  Following along these modern aqueducts, we saw how people directed the flows by blocking up canals with rocks and clothing while letting others run.

Exploring the old underground water system.

Exploring the old underground water system.

We went up another escarpment towards the new town and this gave us another stunning view out over the trees and paths, that you miss out on when you are walking through them.  It was a good way to spend the day, and again, Figuig is HIGHLY recommended if you have the time to make it out to here.  Just bring your own cooking equipment, as we ended up back at the one and only snack shop for a dinner of 1/4 chicken and chips.  This does leave a lot to be desired, but the place more than makes up for it and we will be sorry to leave in the morning.



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