Flying carpets in the High Atlas

Flying carpets in the High Atlas
Setti Fatma, Morocco

Setti Fatma, Morocco


Drove off to the Atlas Mountains at about 9am stopping en route on at a Berber village. Not worth a detour as the TV dishes somewhat confused the ‘traditional’ message. Then onto a carpet weaving co-operative. Big mistake. I had intentionally left all my credit cards back in Marrakech in order to avoid any impulse purchases. Elly, however, still had a shopping list in her mind. Mr Fleecer Snr proceeded to flatter Elly’s good taste and my Berber-esque negotiating skills, while Fleecer Jnr unrolled carpet after carpet. It will come as no shock to learn that we bought one with Mr Fleecer Snr offering to come to our hotel that night to process the credit card. So 350 mint tea’s the poorer we headed off to a local market. This was great with open air hair dressing, butchery and all manner of unhygenic practices.

Elly grabbed some local pearch cooked in sump oil and tried to out-bargain a local for a Jelabi. No chance, as she narrowly avoided buying a rag for £1 – lucky escape. Lunch in Setti Fatma, the end of the road in the Ourika valley. We had a fantastic lunch of tomato salad, tagine etc for about £3 a head. Then back to Marrakech to await the arrival of Fleecer Snr and his Visa machine. He turned up on time and embarrssed, Ronaldo our manager come football star by having batter technology than the hotel. Life in a Berber village is clearly tough but at least they have the technology. By now we were so broke we went back to Immodium Central (Jemma el Fna square) for a bowl of Harira (bean soup) and a mint tea. Dinner for two under £1. So if we can do that for the next 4 months the rug is as good as paid for.

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