APRIL 4, 1957
MARRAKECH, Morocco—The drive from Fez yesterday was partly along the mountains and partly through plains. Some of the land is very fertile and some very arid and desert like. Flocks of sheep and goats are everywhere, always followed by a shepherd. Sometimes you see a few cows or a few horses. The little donkeys are the beasts of burden and carry astonishing loads. I am told the load is regulated by law but it must be a fairly heavy one. There are some camels too and I saw one man yesterday leading a camel with a horse and a donkey following him. These were possibly his whole worldy goods. We stopped for lunch at Beni Mellal and found a completely French restaurant, the Restaurante de Paris, in the little Arab town. We had marshmallow souffle which everyone enjoyed and good asparagus, now in season and grown in the vicinity. There were many Moroccan dishes too, so whatever you taste your were ambly fed. On leaving the town we saw a gathering of men outside a building and were told it was a court. We went in to see the setup and talked to the clerk of the court. The chief justice had come to see me in Fez and I was anxious to find out what were the crimes usually committed which brought people into court. It will sound strange in the in U.S. but it is largely fights, often with knives, over the use of water! Such a precious commodity in these parts! According to the Moroccans, if a farmer had a spring on his land, under a protectarate, the French authorities might take it over and give it to a French settler or to a Moroccan who was more favorable to the French. Now, naturally, the original owner takes it back and quarrels occur!
There is little stealing but they are evidently a hot tempered people when aroused though we met with nothing but friendliness along the road wherever we stopped.
I find that a linen dress and sweater are useful all day at this season but it gets cool at night and a thin wool dress and coat or a heavy silk dress and wool coat are very comfortable.
We reached Marrakech soon after 5:00 p.m. and are in a fabulous hotel where everybody has a balcony. I am told that I have Mr. Churchill's suite, so we can all use a delightful sitting room and we look out at the snow covered Atlas mountains.
I walked in the gardens after breakfast among the orange trees whose blossoms send a delightful scent up to our balconies.
Last evening we went to the Jewish quarter to hear some men play who had come in from five mountain villages.