This weekend I had the chance to go to Ifrane with my family and we went to this park and were able to feed some monkeys. It was really odd seeing them take the bread out of my hand and drink out of a water bottle! I was really impressed by how expressive their eyes were and how they interacted like tiny people. I know that many people back home, especially Nicki (my cousin), would have loved to have this experience. Apparently the area in between Azrou and Ifrane is where most of them live. While we were driving to the park area we also stopped and saw a bunch of monkeys in the forest right next to the street. The monkeys really just crawl up next to the car.
I also had the opportunity to go to a fish farm in Ifrane. It was really cool to be able to see this type of open facility and see the different types of fish they are raising. I found one sign (in French) showing the layout of the facility, but am still a little unsure if it was an aquarium just meant for tourists or if the fish are being raised to become food. Maybe it is a mixture of the two and the extra fish are used for food? Because we had been walking around with a gendarme (the royal police here) we were able to actually feed the fish as well. When we threw food on top of the water the fish aggressively jumped to the surface. Some of them looked more like little sharks with little fins on their backs. The gendarme was really nice, besides the fact that we had met him when he gave us a ticket earlier in the day. We had more people in the car than seats and because we were in a personal automobile that was not okay. He gave us a 300 dirham ticket (about 40 US dollars, which is a decent amount here) and then asked for our phone number so that he could join us on our picnic. He ended up coming to the picnic with us and then staying the whole day. I also posted a picture of our picnic. My family basically brought their whole kitchen with them including a small butagas tank. We peeled, sliced and fried french fries in the park in addition to the rest of our meal. I found it pretty funny that we did pack a simple, precooked meal to go on a picnic. The other thing that struck me was the desire by my family to be out of the sun and off of the ground. Even though I had put sun block on earlier in the morning, they found that it was important for me to stay out of the sun basically the whole day because it was too hot. We also sat on two blankets and most of my family sat on top of pillows as well. There is a common understanding here that if you sit on the ground, cold will come up you and make you infertile. I like to sit on the floor sometimes in the house or outside which usually sparks a lot of confusing. Even if it is hot outside (it has been in the 90's this week) most Moroccans would still sit on a pillow to protect themselves from the cold.
Then for dinner, the gendarme took us out to a restaurant for soup (Herrara) and bread. Herrara is a very common Moroccan dish and consists of chick peas, little noodles, spices and a tomato base. Most cafes have it and the one in Ifrane has definately been the best so far. It is also pretty cheap and can usually be found for about 5-10 dirhams (about a dollar). This concludes my events for Sunday. Happy Mother's Day for all those who are in the states!