Monday, March 18, 2013

Morocco Days 3 & 4

Day 3:
We had a long drive ahead of us. The drive was actually very nice though, we left the city and headed into the country. I had never pictured Africa to be so green. There were beautiful mountains the entire drive. Along the country side there were tons of people working on farms. So many people were walking along the side of the streets riding mules and horses with various crops or farm equipment slung over the sides. There were also a bunch of horse/mules and buggys. I’d never seen anything like it, it was almost like being in an amish country.
            We took a quick bathroom and coffee break in Ouezzane. We also toured another market. This one was particularly unpleasant for me because of the chicken slaughter. There were chickens hanging from the ceilings. I even saw a man weighing a live chicken, preparing to slaughter it. Luckily I looked away. It was awful, you could hear the chickens screaming right beforehand. I really didn’t like that. Also, the various types of meat and carcasses were not being refrigerated at all and it was about 65 °F  There were flies all over the place landing on the food. Once again, I realized exactly how lucky I am.
Dirham is the Moroccan currency. Its roughly 10 dirham to 1 euro. 

Chickens basically awaiting slaughter :(

I love this photo. I think arabic is so pretty.
            We parked our bus on a mountain and hiked up to a Muslim village. There, we used a translator to interview two Muslim women about  their lives. One was very old and one was a young adult. Their opinions about the muslum life varied because of this. The old woman told us that she had an arranged marriage when she was 17 and had her first child at 20 years old! The young girl did not like the village and preferred to be in the city, it was more exciting.  They also told us that they had everything they could ever need in their village including electricity and televisions and cell phones. Their bathroom was a Turkish tolilet aka, it was basically just a hole in the ground that you squat over. I had such difficulty, I ended up peeing all over my sneaker…

Our hike was tiring, but beautiful none the less!

After our hike we had another long busride to Chefchaouen, The Blue City. Chefchaouen is something that looks like its right out of a movie. From afar it looks very similar to Greece. The buildings, streets and walls are all this beautiful soft blue. Everything is blue, its so gorgeous! The streets are so tiny and windy, I honestly have no idea how anyone knows their way around or reads a map for that matter. It’s basically like you’re walking around the most complex (and beautiful) maze you’ve ever seen. It’s situated on the side of a mountain, so all of the houses have this amazing view of the mountains. Its probably in my top 3 most beautiful places I've ever been. When we arrived we dropped our bags off in our hotel and hit the streets to shop. A lot of the girls wanted to get leather bags and backpacks because Morocco is very well known for its leather, and its very very cheap. I ended up buying a little handmade teapot, my own belly dancing belt(!!!),  jewelry, a Morocco shirt, a leather wallet and some other little things. Barganing was the best part of shopping, the street vendors were so funny, some got so aggressive! We also got henna tattoos, something that is very popular among Muslums. Of course though our henna artist was terrible. She used way too much henna so mine dripped all down my foot while I was walking. It came out so bad we were on the floor laughing at it later. So yes I did get henna in Morocco, no it did not look good.
how amazing is this?! The entire city was like this!!

I should have run while I had the chance...
Barcelona runs the world 

I've already googled "how to remove henna". At least its not on my hand!

            That night our entire group of 15 huddled into our room. Blaire had us go around and explain the thing that most shocked us about our experience. It was very cute and I could feel myself getting a little sad and we had only been there for 4 days!! If we have to do this back in Barcelona, I’ll loose it! He also gave us each a bracelet to symbolize our experience and to help keep our memories of Morocco as vivid as possible.
Day 4:
We woke up before the crack of dawn (it was really authentic because the roosters were cock-a-doodle-dooing every morning) and hiked up a to a Spanish Mosque to get a good view of Chefchaoen. It was beautiful even with the on and off rain. We were told that we were so lucky because our group had experienced the best weather on the trip ever. It was gorgeous, about 70° the entire time.

On our hotel's little roof terrace
The second floor of our hotel!

mmmm breakfast!

It was like being inside a National Geographics magazine! 

We had a long bus ride to the border. Before this trip, I had no idea that there was Spanish territory in Africa. But in reality, Ceuta is Spanish territory. Therefore, we had to physically get out of our bus and walk across the border because our bus driver did not have a visa to cross. Its very sad, most Moroccans can’t leave the country because they need a visa to travel anywhere and its very difficult for them to get approved. Once we cross the border we took a taxi to the port and took the ferry back over to Spain.

This adventure tested all of my prior assumptions about Muslims and Islamic culture and proved them all wrong. These people are genuinely the most hospitable people I have ever met. Several different Moroccans from other cities all told me that I was “apart of their family now, and to come back and stay with them”, and they really did mean it. It’s so tragic that American’s feel such hostility and anger towards Muslims when in reality they’re just ignorant. These people are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met within my lifetime. Yet because of a Islamic extremist group not even on their continent, they’re automatically linked to terrible stereotypes.  I strongly encourage everyone and anyone to get over to Morocco. I have nothing but good things to say about it, and it really is a life-altering experience. I also highly recommend the program I went through, which also takes groups of adults over to Morocco -Morocco Exchange

The red is our tour route

Pray not only because you need something, but because you have a lot to be thankful for.

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