0180. Another Souss Town (Mor 029--revisit)

Ait Mellioul Travel Blog

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Episode 04: Revisit to the Souss Valley

 My next little trip would be down to Agadir to see friends and relations—but hopefully I’ll be able to slip into Adventure Mode during that time.

The first town I have my eye on is Ait Mellioul, a sizeable town across the dry Souss riverbed from Inezgane.  So I get off the bus in Inezgane and head out along the highway on foot.  Evening is setting, but I should be able to give it a proper tour before it’s time to late.

“Hey!  Agadir is the other direction!” Someone hollers out… Clearly a foreigner heading towards Ait Mellioul must be lost.

I do get flashbacks of my first visit here back in April of 1996.  I was with a classmate and we had just arrived in Morocco a few weeks earlier and decided to head out and “discover” a new town—a concept I was barely familiar with at that time. 

I remember having the idea of walking and walking from one edge of town until we reached the other edge—it just seemed to be a way of knowing we’d really seen the town.  But as we trudged on and on past monotonous buildings down a sun scorched road, my companion was getting more and more irritated—he clearly wasn’t catching on to the whole concept.

That’s something I’ve continued to do and enjoy to this very day—and find great satisfaction in doing so, even taking on some mammoth challenges like hiking all the way across New York City, London, New Delhi, Shanghai and Beijing.  And maybe in part due to that clash in travel styles I had with my classmate back in 96, nowadays I almost always do it alone.  Most travellers just want to see the “highlights” of the city… the touristy parts and can’t appreciate this holistic approach to travel where you discover a city by seeing all its facets… it’s wealth, its poverty, its industry, its commerce…

Back to the Present

Since Ait Mellioul has been pre-explored I don’t quite feel the need to do a “end to end” tour this time. But I am determined to find something new and interesting here.  Seems like a relatively well to do town, but I notice that most of the homes seemed uninhabited.  Ait Mellioul it seems is a popular place for Berbers living abroad to buy a vacation houses—which then sits empty for much of the year.  Thus the town has a sort of lifeless feel.

I do manage to find an alley that has some life to it where I order a bowl of delicious Berber pea soup with olive oil.  I even find a small section of an old wall that’s in ruins. But that’s about it—then it’s just block after block of monotonous empty 3-4 story boxy houses. 

I do like the air of prosperity here—at least compared to, say Ben Ahmed area… Berbers are well known for their frugality and good business skills and in Ait Mellouil you can see that it’s paying off. 

Ironically, it seems not a business is going on in Ait Mellioul itself.  Most of the shops shut down at dusk—and the town practically goes dead.  I do find a nice, green little park, but it’s also shut down for the day.  A few ladies are sitting around outside the park fence, chillin’ out…

I know it’s sort of cheating, but I really just can’t find anywhere decent to do my clip, so when I pause at one of the few cafes on the main drag, just put the camera on another table, and film myself… Kind of lame, but that’s about all Ait Mellioul had to offer…


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Ait Mellioul
photo by: nathanphil