Morocco was probably the country in which I was most pleasantly surprised. It was an all-around fun country to spend time in. My entries are about the first three days in Morocco, all of which were quite fun.
FRIDAY, APRIL 8, 2016
DAY 133 – CASABLANCA
Today, we went out to sightsee in Morocco (Casablanca, more specifically). We spent some time looking around for a pharmacy which was closed when we got there but was to open in about 15 minutes… so, to kill time, we went to… McDonalds. Oh yeah!!! I got some Chicken McNuggets. Heaven. It had been a LONG TIME since we’d had “American Food”!
Next, we went to the Hassan II Mosque– the 3rd largest mosque in the world. The minaret was very tall. We ran into the Mayes family, and we heard the Muslim prayers with them. It sounded like they came from huge speakers at the top of the minaret.
After the mosque, we took a long walk back to the ship, passing through a huge market full of people attempting to sell us things. Unlike Ghana and parts of Asia– India in particular — the people weren’t aggressive or pushy when we said ‘no thanks’.
We got back onto the shuttle bus, and we were back on the ship by 6:00, and watched Harry Potter 3.
And went to bed, as we “get” to wake up early tomorrow.
SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2016
DAY 134 – CASABLANCA -> DESERT CAMP
Wake up!! Time to go!!
After going to the Berlin restaurant on the ship for breakfast, (Ha! Berlin!! We never go there!!!) we left to get on a bus to the desert. At least we got to have screen time on the 3-4 hour drive!!! That made it much more enjoyable. We got out of the bus for lunch and a stop at a small spice shop… it was nice to be in an air conditioned restaurant with good Moroccan cuisine!
A Moroccan “Fantasia”
We continued our drive on until we got to a small village that was celebrating something, but… WHAT!? We stopped to see what was happening– it was called a “Fantasia” and it’s a tradition among the local villages. What luck! Our tour guides stopped and help us get some seats near the front. And all three of us kids got to drink Moroccan whiskey. Oh, that stuff was good. It has a lot of sugar, and you know everything with too much sugar is good!
Oh wait, I forgot to tell you that Moroccan whiskey isn’t actually whiskey. It’s just tea with mint and an overload of sugar. 🙂
As we watched the ceremony, they rode horses RIGHT UP TO US and shot guns into the air. Thank god they were blanks. One of the riders tried to shoot his gun but the gun got jammed. After waiting about a second, the gun went off, and it flew through the air about 30 feet. After watching a video of the flying gun on somebody’s phone, it turned out that he just had a bad grip on the gun, and therefore flew those 30 feet.
Desert Nomad Camp
After the Fantasia, we drove to the desert to ride a camel to our “hotel”!!! I was very excited. The camel was very bumpy, and was also tied very close to the camel in front of me, so I had to be very careful. The camel in front of mine didn’t do a very good job of wiping its butt when it went to the bathroom.
The “hotel” was very fun– it wasn’t a hotel at all, it was a bunch of tents, carpets, tables– everything– setup in the desert! It was glamping!!! Glamourous camping!! We watched the sunset, sat on carpets and ate more Moroccan food. Dinner was good and our tents were cold, so I went to bed while wearing three layers of clothing.
SUNDAY, APRIL 10, 2016
DAY 135 – DESERT VILLAGE
After waking up… I was FREEZING. It is not very warm in the desert. Especially in the morning. It is not very pleasant.
But the breakfast!!!!!! I ate a little bit of egg, and the rest was a special Moroccan flat-bread. And the best part… honey. You dip the bread in the honey, and OH MY GOD. It’s AMAZING.
Well, after our breakfast, we got in our Jeep, and rode away from town… well by “away from town” I mean that we were further from town than we were in the camp. And then you’d say “Oh, Alexander. You were in the desert. How could you have gone farther from town than you already were.” But you know, we could see Marrakesh from our camp.
After our Jeep ride into the country, we went to our 10:00 cooking class for chicken Tajine and Moroccan cous cous. It was especially cold given that I was only wearing a t-shirt and a light jacket.
“What!!??” You’d say.
“Yeah, I’d give it a 50 degrees, 40 with the wind chill. Yeah, that’s pretty accurate.”
“Ha. That’s very funny, Alexander. You crack me up.”
“No!!! It was actually 50 degrees!!”
“Look, I’m sorry Alexander, but it’s never 50 degrees in Africa.”
“50 degrees, take it or leave it. It’s my final offer (That’s good bargaining procedure, right Dad?).”
“Okay, I guess I believe you.”
Now that that’s settled, we can go on with the entry.
While I was freezing my butt off, the chef was going on about a bunch of Moroccan cooking procedures… I wasn’t listening. It was kind of boring.
Unlike the cooking class in Vietnam, this one… well, we didn’t get to actually do any cooking.
We ate lunch, but I was way too distracted to eat any food, because there was a fire burning, and I wanted to stay by the fire drinking my Moroccan whisky for the whole time.
After our lunch in the cold, we got a chance to walk through the village in which the cooking class was contained. I got to play soccer with some of local kids. It was quite fun just being able to play soccer… it was a nice taste of home.
We got back into the Jeep, which drove us back to the bus, which drove us to our hotel in Marrakech. I unpacked and all that stuff, then we left for a dinner in the city of Marrakech, which was awesome. But more on Marrakech later!