Over the years, I have seen some unusual sights while travelling.
For example, only earlier this week here in South Australia we were driving from Peterborough in the mid-north back home in Murray Bridge, near Adelaide. We passed two people travelling north on in-line skates (roller blades) using two skiing poles to propel them and their small trailers.
And very hard work on a hot, humid day.
On our tour of Morocco, I took the photo above. We were stopped at a roadside restaurant for morning tea. Other vehicles had also stopped there. A single sheep was having a grand tour with an excellent view of the countryside. I love the trouble that the owner of the van had gone to in order to keep the animals he needed to transport in safety. It was possible a quite normal thing to do in Morocco, though I didn’t see any more examples of this method. In Australia, we are more used to seeing animals transported in large trucks, trailers of many sizes, or on the backs of utes (utility vehicles).
Less common would be transporting animals inside a vehicle (with the exception of pet dogs, cats and the like), though I have heard of people carrying animals inside the boot (trunk) of a car and even inside a van. I have even seen sheep being transported on a quad bike (4 wheel motorbike) or over the lap of a person riding a two-wheel motorbike which is relatively common on farms here in Australia. But I have never heard of or seen animals carried on TOP of the cabin of a car or van, as in this photo.
I actually think that it is quite innovative.
A few weeks ago we went to visit our daughter who teaches at Clare in the mid-north of South Australia. We used to live there when she was still in primary school and love visiting the well-known wine growing district whenever we can. During our stay we went for a drive around town, noting the many changes that have occurred since we lived there over 30 years ago.
A recent addition has been some sculptures of sheep, a sheep dog and a shepherd. These sculptures have been installed to honour the place of the wool and sheep industry in the Clare district. Although wine grapes have largely taken over as the main agricultural pursuit, sheep and wool remain very important to many of the farmers of the district. Cereal crops also play an important role, as does tourism and some light industry.
I think that these sculptures are brilliantly done and something like this should appear in many more of our rural districts here in South Australia.
As we journeyed through mid-eastern Morocco I took what photographic opportunities I could manage through the window of our mini-bus. Sometimes this was not successful and occasionally I managed to get reflections from the glass, but most of the time I took reasonable shots of the rural landscape.
As we travelled in a generally south easterly direction from Fes we went through some mountainous areas as well as flat plateau farming areas. The further east we travelled the less that the land was actually cultivated. Instead we saw numerous examples of people living a semi-nomadic lifestyle, tending to their large flocks of goats and sheep.
Sometimes we saw farmhouses and shedding like those shown in the photo above. On other occasions we saw extensive dwellings which looked like tents. Frequently we saw people tending their animals like shepherds in centuries gone by. They seemed to wander far from their dwellings and certainly in some quite remote localities. Like shepherds have done for millennia, they have to wander from one food source to the next.
I come from a farming background. The first 15 or so years of my life were spent living on my father’s farm in the Murray Mallee district of South Australia. Although I spent most of my working life in a school classroom, I still have a close affinity with the land. Today in retirement I still own a small “farm”, albeit only 5 acres in size and I no longer keep any chickens, ducks and sheep like I used to some years ago.
Wherever we travel I take a keen interest in the countryside as we journey, keeping an eye out not only for birds (birding is a passion of mine) but also casting an eye over the farming countryside. So it was with great interest that I watched the passing farmland practices while journeying through Morocco. Previously I have commented on the similarities that the rural environment in Morocco has with parts of South Australia. There are, however, many contrasts too, as illustrated in today’s photos.
I don’t know what breed of sheep are shown in the photo above, but they are significantly different from the common Merino breed we have here in SA. We also saw many goats in Morocco, something you tend not to see in the cereal growing areas at home.
One of the features of travelling around the city of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia is seeing animals everywhere. Donkeys are common beast of burden and drivers have to be especially wary of them. Cattle are found in various parts of the city and we passed several markets where they were for sale.
By far the most common animals would have to be sheep and goats. They all looked the same to me, but my daughter assures me, after talking to the locals while she was teaching there, that the tails of goats stick up and the tails of sheep hang down. I never had the opportunity to really put this to the definitive test. Had I shown more than a passing interest in the animals I would have found myself having to buy one. Not sure what I would have done with it had this occurred.