Wednesday, 2 December 2015

PRE XMAS NEWS .....

RIGHT, THAT’S ME DONE…………………

……..Well, ‘till next March anyway!

Recently back from a perfect November tour with both fantastic weather and clients I have decided that after a busy and hectic year I am going to take a much needed 3 month personal break. Of course all scheduled tours [Dec, Jan and Feb] will in the meantime continue without me.

Leaving behind extraordinary storms in mainland Spain and a cold front drifting down from the UK we were a little apprehensive as to what to expect in Morocco during November…..but as we crossed the Med the grey and cold gradually receded and we were greeted, as usual, by sun, sun and even more sun for the whole tour.

Horizon to horizon blue greeted at our desert camp


 
After 3 nights, during which some camped at a luxury “Deep Dune Camp” overnight, it was a shame to leave.



By the time you receive this blog issue I will hopefully have headed off to the UK for the annual pre-Christmas family gathering, so have little time to re-issue and update our 2016 schedule…….but taking just a quick look at the booking-list in the office it looks like there are just a few places left only on the March and April, September and October 2016 tours………. So if you are thinking of joining us next year don’t think too long! 

AMIDST THE CHAOS, TRANQUILITY……………
 
 
Jardin Majorelle is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Marrakech and is rated as one of the world’s best tourist destinations.
 
Created by the French painter Jacques Majorelle (1886-1962), the Majorelle Garden is a twelve-acre botanical garden and an art’s landscape in Marrakech.
For tourists or inhabitants of the city looking to escape the crowded old medina and Jamaa El fna, the peaceful atmosphere of Jardin Majorelle offers a moment of rest and refreshment in the shadows of its exotic plants.


The garden, a little heaven, is an ideal place for those who love nature and colors. Painted with dark blue with bright yellow vases in every corner, the garden is a masterpiece combining Moorish and Berber-style.


Visitors enjoy walking through the clean pathways under the shade of the trees and plants that draw artistic shapes on the ground, or sit on a colorful bench listening to the tweeting of birds.

 
The ticket price of MAD 70 is perhaps a little expensive compared to other public sites in Marrakech, but the money goes to promote the Berber culture and organize events and exhibitions.


NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT………….

 

Perhaps I should rephrase that…….Not a lot of people have realised………

Given the combined billions concerned or entangled I am surprised that nobody has pointed this out before……. Someone probably has I expect!!

During my latest research project [Political Islam] I realised that this year [2015] “Eid Al Mouloud,” or simply “Al Mouloud,” the observance of the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, will occur twice. That’s because Muslims first celebrated it earlier when it fell first on January 4, and they will observe it again on December 24 or 25.

Even more remarkably “Al Mouloud” and Christmas Day will fall on the same day for the first time in 457 years. This rare coincidence, specially separate events for both Muslims and Christians, has taken place only three times in the history of humanity………not withstanding that Islam has only been around for something less than 1500 years….and did I say “Humanity” …. Now there’s a laugh!

Anyway to explain…….. “Al Mouloud” falls on the 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal, that’s the third month in the Islamic calendar. However, the date in the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar, while the Islamic calendar is a lunar one. In the Gregorian calendar, “Al Mouloud falls on a different day every year by approximately 11 days.
The date of “Al Mouloud” may also vary from country to country depending on the sighting of the lunar crescent, which marks the beginning of a new lunar month.
Given this rare coincidence of Al Mouloud with Christmas, some are divided on when to celebrate it. Will Muslims celebrate the birth of Prophet Muhammad at the same time as the birth of Jesus or will they skip a day to celebrate “Al Mouloud” on December 24 or 26?
Whatever, I expect they will find a consensus and slaughter one another on this special day as on all others……..
 
 
SO TOO SPEAK…………..
 

For months the debate about linguistic identity has raged in Morocco. The tussle is between French, and English, with clear lines between those who favor retaining what they describe as the "language of history and the protectorate" and English, the language of "science and civilisation"

The politicians have been vocal in the debate with Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, expressing his desire to give English prime importance in the educational system and to become the second language after the Arabic.  The Minister of Higher Education, Lahcen Daoudi, has repeatedly stressed of English in the scientific disciplines, saying "We are obliged to gain proficiency in English" .

According to a recent poll by the Hespress Newspaper, the overwhelming majority of voters want English over French in Morocco's educational system in Morocco.

The results of the poll of  41,526  people saw the support rate for English at 85.98 with only 14.02 per cent of respondents wanting to keep French
.
Dr Abdel Kader Fassi Fihri, International expert in the field of linguistics, said the result was "good news", because it reflects the awareness of Moroccan citizens in regard to the choice of foreign language, and the language of education in particular.

He added……"Being the universal language, English is the language of trading and if you want to reach out to the world or want to move between one region and another, even in the Arab countries or  China, you need English." He also pointed out that English is the global language of science and scientific journals internationally and are all indexed in English and noted that "English has become the first language in Europe.  For example, in Spain, Germany, Portugal, and France the first other language is English," adding that "You only find  French as the first foreign language in some African countries, which were a colony of France and Belgium."


ANOTHER GOOD READ………..


 
This slim volume of stories contains local stories that Herron collected and some that she created herself. They are poignant tales of magic, love and loss. Their brevity makes them vignettes rather than short stories and yet they have a power that belies their short length. 

The stories are retold in modern times and so from time to time a character will produce a smart phone, or mention watching television. This intrusion of the contemporary into ancient tales is a device that works to enhance the notion that the reader is getting a remarkable insight into the longevity of traditional beliefs held by Moroccans living today in the Draa valley.

I studied classical Arabic and the Quran with the women of the village, travelled in the desert, learned how to take care of camels and sheep, how to wash and pray, and helped the other women in the family with the day-to-day running of the home. I fell in love with storytelling and stories, which are at the heart of everyday life in Morocco: sharing old stories handed down from generation to generation, embellishing jokes, spreading gossip or simply recounting a personal experience. I began to document the stories I was hearing and then found myself imagining and composing my own - Samantha  Herron

The author of 'Travels with a Tangerine: A Journey in the Footnotes of Ibn Battutah', Tim Mackintosh-Smith agrees: 'Samantha Herron found some of her Moroccan stories ready-made. Others she imagined or dreamed. In size they are miniatures; but they all express big things on a small scale. Reading them is like peering through a series of keyholes – and, each time, glimpsing something momentary but momentous, instants with life-long consequences. They will make you smile, and shiver. And they will tell you as much truth about their Moroccan setting as a shelf-full of ethnologist.'


2016 TOUR DATES

DEC-JAN 15/16

NEW YEAR IN THE SAHARA AND MARRAKECH


FULLY BOOKED
[Standby Places Only]
1st FEB ‘16
THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


FULLY BOOKED
[Standby Places Only]
1st Mar ‘16
THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast
JUST TWO PLACES LEFT


1st April ‘16



10th April ‘16


THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


EXCLUSIVE FRENCH CLUB TOUR  


ONLY ONE PLACE


FULLY BOOKED


1st MAY’16




7th May ‘16



20th May ‘16


THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


“FOOTSTEPS OF MOORS”
From the Moroccan Sahara to the Spanish Sierras
[40 PLUS DAYS]



A “DISCOVERY” Tour
Remote, Hidden, Spectacular Morocco. THE TRANS ATLAS-IMISHIL EXPEDITION

NEW TOUR WITH PLACES


STANDBY PLACES ONLY



NEW TOUR WITH PLACES
    1st Sept ‘16



2nd Sept ‘16

ALL NEW – AMAZIGH [EASTERN MOROCCO] TOUR.
[Small Group only


“GRAND TRANS-MOROCCO”
From the Algerian Border to the Atlantic Coast
[40 PLUS DAYS]


TWO PLACES



THREE PLACES

3rd SEPT ‘16

THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR
Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast

FOUR PLACES


 
1st Oct ‘16



THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR
Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


THREE PLACES


1st NOV ‘16



3rd NOV ‘16
THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR
Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast


THE MOROCCAN “CLASSIC” TOUR Trans Riff-Atlas-Forest-Sahara-Atlantic Coast
THREE PLACES



NEW TOUR DATE ADDED
1st Dec ‘16

THE MOROCCAN “WINTER WONDER TOUR” A Stunning tour for those who wish to escape the cold and grey of Europe [Give Christmas/New Year/Plus Time in Morocco option]

FULLY BOOKED
[Standby Only]
17th Dec ‘16/17

XMAS-NEW YEAR “CELEBRATION” TOUR Imperial City – Xmas Dunes – New Year In Marrakech


FULLY BOOKED
[Standby Only]

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