Sunday, April 28, 2013

Moroccan Memories

Morocco started out as every other port has- sunrise with Amanda and Carly at 5:50! We then had breakfast and Carly, Kayla and I got ready for our field lab. We had our Religions around the World field lab and we went to a Jewish museum, Notre Dame du Lourdes, and the Hassan II Mosque. The Cathedral and the mosque were incredibly beautiful. The mosque can hold up to 25,000 people inside and another 80,000 people in the surrounding area. The roof also opened up when the weather is nice, and we were lucky enough to be there at a time it was opened. It was absolutely gorgeous. 


We got back from our field lab and decided to go out to dinner. We walked to a restaurant close to the port and ate Tanjines- a typical Moroccan dish which was delicious. I had fish with an assortment of veggies.  We ended up staying for over 3 hours until Amanda, Ben and Anmal found us. Then, we walked to Rick’s CafĂ© (built because of the movie Casablanca) where we had dessert, but mostly because it seemed like something you have to do when in Casablanca.

Our walk back home was unfortunately more eventful than we wanted. I ended up getting my necklace ripped off my neck by a guy walking by. It was my small S necklace that I always wear, so it didn’t even cross my mind to take it off before we went out. Luckily, this was the only thing he took from the group which is good because we all had passports and wallets with us. I was so angry that it happened, I ended up snapping my ship-id in half… oops!

The next morning, we all (Cassie, Carly, Amanda, Kayla, Nicole, Ben, Braden, Anmal, Matt and Raj) headed out bright and early to the train station. We took a 3 hour ride to Marrakech in a hot train, but we made it nonetheless. We had rented a villa about 6 miles out of town at a resort, so decided to spend the rest of the day hanging out at the pool.

The next morning, we woke up and rode camels, because when in Morocco… The camel behind me kept creepin’ up, so we became really good friends. I’ve decided I really like camels because they look like they are always smirking. 

Then, we went into Marrakech for the afternoon to explore. The markets were CRAZY huge. We allotted ourselves 6 hours to walk through and grab street food for dinner. We managed to get ourselves lost in the crazy maze of market booths, and were split up a few times. Luckily, we were able to work it out that one guy would be with a girl at all times. There were still guys who would try to cop a feel, and Amanda and I were even asked to be bought from Ben at one point for “many durhams.” We ended up finding a street food cart that had tables around it. It was actually really random because the chefs looked like mad scientists in white lab coats, and every time they got a new customer, they would sing “That’s the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it! Uh-huh, uh-huh”. For street food, it was pretty good, and none of us thought we would run the risk of TD! Amanda even ate 11- she killed it. 
Afterwards, we walked around a little more and picked up some random fairy wings. Matt had gotten a traditional Moroccan outfit, and Raj decided to buy a shirt and head piece. That night in the villa, it looked like Halloween, but we rocked it. 

The next morning, we took a 5 hour train ride back to Casablanca, and it was miserable. We had second class seating and were sitting on the dirty floor while little kids were running around and screaming. Regardless, we all decided we couldn’t complain because we would still rather be sitting on that train floor than back in the States.

Overall, I enjoyed Morocco. The culture in incredible - a mix between French, African and Arab - and aside from the incident on the first night, the people were very nice. I loved that I was able to spend my last port with all of my best friends on this trip. I hope to come back to Morocco someday to explore more.

Tomorrow I get off the ship in Spain and head to Italy for the adventure to continue!