Feburary 3, 2010
Welll I was going to wait until I got home from Switzerland to write a blog BUT there is so much to say about Morocco. We left Granada, Spain on January 29th on a bus for a 3 hour ride for Algeciras (the port city). Here we stayed in our first hostel ever haha it wasn’t too bad I suppose. It was a regular room and bathroom and everything with a tv. We met our three group leaders for the Morocco trip (Alan, Sarah and Anna) and went to sleep for the night. The next morning we woke up at 8 to get on a huge ferry to cross the Strait of Gibraltar. It was about an hour and a half ride. It was pretty cool that we were heading to Africa. I never thought I would have the chance and it was fun sharing that with the people I was with! We got to Morocco, and the people were nice to start off the bat. A girl in our group dropped her passport in the parking lot and immediately the Moroccan’s were telling us to wait and handed it back to her. It was VERY overwhelming when we got there. Everyone there spoke either Arabic or French, so we had no idea what was going on… pretty much ever. The town that we started in was Tangier, which is the port city in Morocco. When we got there we exchanged money and everything and then drove straight to the good ‘ol meat market. I didn’t like it at all…. I did take some pictures and put one on face book. People were carrying around half of cows and the smell was terrible.. I thought I was going to be for a very long trip when I saw all of this. We talked to two Morrocan women after the meet market and had tea and whatnot with them. They explained to us a lot about the Muslim religion. I learned so much about it , but it’s tough to explain through typing. I did learn though that the woman can choose to cover there faces with the scarves and everything… Nobody makes them do that and also Muslims really aren’t that different from Christians. After the talk we went to a women’s center where woman who didn’t have a lot of money could go and make different types of clothing to sell. A couple of us bought some of it so that was goood. We then went and had lunch… which was soo much different than America. Morrocans eat with there hands and only grab food with there right hand. It was like any other meal pretty much except we were able to use silverware. There is a picture of the food on facebook. It was basicly chicken with vegetables around in a broth. (haha NOT chicken noodle soup though) After Tangier we drove along the Alantic ocean shore to a town called Rabat, but not before stopping halfway on a beach. On that beach there were two camels waiting for us! Haha it was pretty sweet riding a camel, and it was even cooler that we were on some random beach. Before getting to Africa, I was expecting to be walking in the desert everywhere haha but as it turns out some of it is just like any town in Spain. (At least in the bigger towns it was like this)
Once we arrived in Rabat, we met our host families. Brett Mckenzie and I roomed together and the house we all met at ended up being the house that Brett and I were put into. I am pretty sure this house was one of the nicer houses among all of the others. The house actually had a tv and internet and a normal toilet. The shower was pretty disgusting though so we both chose not to shower haha. The first night with our host family we had bread with some sort of meatball. (Bread is huge in Europe, I think I have had more bread here then ever in my life). The meal was pretty good.. it was definitely weird only eating with our right hands and no silverware again. One person in each house spoke English and the person that spoke it for us was actually our host brother who is 24. After dinner him and one of his friends took us to walk around the Medina (old part of the city where the streets are full of people selling things) It was a Saturday night so there were 1000’s of people out and Jesim our host brother knew almost all of them it seemed like. After the tour we called it a day and went to bed. There wasn’t heat or AC in the houses so at night it got pretty cold. Morocco wasn’t as warm during January as people might think.
The next day we woke up early again around 8, and our family made us just some coffee and bread with butter and jelly. (Since I have been in Spain I have aquired the taste for coffee and red wine haha two things I would never drink in the States). That day we went to some Roman ruins and whatnot that were pretty interesting, and then that afternoon we spoke with two Muslim guys. This was SO interesting. We talked a lot about terrorism and the stereotypes of the Muslim religion. I don’t want to write about all that we talked about, but there were two keys points that I remember really well. 1) We were talking about the terrorist attacks on America, and how the “Muslims” did this. They were very upset that the media puts a bad image in the Muslim community because of these terrorist attacks. One of the guys said, “The acts of terrorism on the United States were not Muslim men, they were crazy men using the Muslim religion as a coverup because a real Muslim man would never perform such acts on other people.” 2) We were talking about the differences and similarities among religions in general and one of the guys said, “Each religion is just a different finger but on the same hand” Implying we all believe in the same thing, but we just go about our beliefs in different ways. After saying the talk we actually met up with people from Casablanca and they took us through the market to help us shop. It was pretty awesome getting DVD’s for less than a dollar haha and I bought some snowpants for pretty cheap for also. The guys were really helpful!
That night after walking around and dinner with the family, we had a Hamam planned… (public shower). My host brother took about eight of us guys and the girls went to their own. The hamam could have been the funniest part of the trip! Haha basically its three rooms that are all steamed up and everyone brings two buckets in to fill up with scolding hot water for a shower. SOO we get to the hamam and there is an option to have a guy scrub you haha two guys decided they wanted to do that.. as the saying goes… “when in Morocco… do as the Moroccan’s do”… We walk into the hamam (everyone has to have boxers on) but people were laying all over the floors and there were guys being scrubbed down left and right… lets just say the people who were being scrubbed were being absolutely dominated by the scrubbers… sooo naturally all 8 of us Americans were laughing hysterically right off the bat. The guys who paid for the scrub were pretty scared at this point because they were about to be man handled by a naked man. Haha Also, there were guys laying all over the floors everywhere… im guessing there were around 50-60 people in this public shower… absolutely disgusting might I add. How it works is there is 3 rooms a hot, medium, and warm room. Each person sits in the hot sauna-like room first to get a sweat going… and by sit in the sauna I mean lay on dirty cement floor where numerous DIRTY Moroccans had sat before.. after enjoying the filthiness of the floor we filled our buckets and used soap made from straight up animal fat and “showered” I guess. The guys who chose the ‘ol man scrub were not so lucky… at one point right before they big wash we all looked over and saw one guy using his beard to scrub another guys back hahaha SO funny! It was now Andrew’s and Robert’s turn to get scrubbed up… they started by laying on the floor and the Moroccan immediately stood on Andrew and scrubbed away… at this point we were all on the floor laughing because it could’ve been the funniest site I have ever seen… about 5 minutes later he was done but not before the Moroccan stretched him out…. He was standing on him and straight up just crankin’ on his legs and arms it was so funny!.. Both Andrew and Robert were screaming at the guy to stop cuz it hurt so bad hahaha partially naked guys stretchin’ each other…. It was NOT right! haha But definitely the highlight of that day!
The next day we traveled to the part of Morocco that I expected all of Morocco to be like… Shanty houses and in the country with no cars or roads. We ate with a family and had a translator to speak to them since they only spoke Arabic. Talking to them was pretty interesting, but I found that a lot of the conversations were the same as the other two, but it was good to hear other’s inputs. After the visit we continued on to the town of Chefchauon. The town was in the middle of the mountains, so it was pretty cool. We stayed in a hostel in the middle of town and got to shop and stuff and go out to eat. Every ten feet some random guy would come up to us and try to sell us hash…. It was really annoying, but we laughed every time. Right when we got into the town some kid who only spoke Arabic looked at us and said, “Hey you,,,, F*** you” hahaha I looked at him and just bursted out laughing because he was about 10 yrs old… Let me tell ya it made us feel welcome haha. We spent one night in the town and then got up in the morning at 6 to go to a mosque in the mountains. It was pretty cool looking over the entire town and everything.. Later that day we made our way back to a different port town where we were shipped back to Spain!. Overall it was a great trip and everything was already paid for so it was really nice! Once we got back to spain we only had 4 hours until our bus left for Madrid and that is where our Switzerland trip began!