The Dunes in Zagora
It's not that I've been lazy; I've been traveling. Shannon and I hit Morocco for a week, and then I left Madrid for the north of Spain. I'm in San Sebastian at the mo, but more on that later.
Morocco was incredible. I don't know if it was just because it was so different, but I was in awe the entire time I was there. Yes, it smells like Africa (aka, poo everywhere on the street) but Muslim architecture really kicks the Catholics' butts. Sorry. We went into a couple of palaces that just blow your mind. The hand carved detail is similar to the Alhambra, and absolutely beautiful.
A young boy working on a "Ber-ber" lamp
Our trip was broken into parts. We had a few days in Marrakech
, mostly spent shopping in the super-stressful medina
. You really feel like a celebrity because everyone is trying to get your attention, and insisting that you come to their shop. "Just looking, just looking, looking is free..." Or, they say "fish and chips" to get you to look at them, because they think all the guiries
are English, and bottom line, guiries
have money. Definitely an experience I won't forget.
Terrace at the beach bar, in typical blue
We made our way to Essaouira
, a beach town visited by hippies and, most famously, Jimi
Hendrix. I think that this was my favorite place. The mood was much more relaxed, and the town was precious. Every house is white, with brightly painted blue doors. It brings luck in the Muslim culture.
, and a night in Marrakech
, we joined a tour group for a trek into the Sahara. They put Shannon and I with 10 frogs, I mean French people, and only a couple of them spoke English. But amazingly, we had so many jokes and such a good time together. No, there was no mention of freedom fries and freedom toast. We had to take a van from Marrakech
, about 9 hours through the Atlas Mountains. The scenery is incredible. You go through the High Atlas, then into the Draa
Valley, and finally you reach the edge of the Sahara. I learned some French along the way as well. "Pardon...si vous plais
" We stopped at a famous Kasbah
, Ait Benhaddou
(a few movies were filmed there). It's funny, Morocco looks like Arizona, so a lot of westerns were also filmed there. The Kasbah
is really interesting. There are loads of them in Morocco, and they all look similar and serve a similar function. The thermometer hit 38 Celsius
(100 Fahrenheit), but as soon as you walk into the shade in the Kasbah
, the temperature drops almost 30 degrees. It feels almost perfect inside. Morocco is a place where it's difficult to escape the heat, but they managed to figure it out all those years ago.
Me with the camel guides and a little "Ber-ber
We made it to Zagora
for the sunset while on the camels. Our camel ride was about 2 hours long, and not the most comfortable (ask Shannon). But it was worth it to sleep on a sand dune and see all of the stars, the dust of the Milky Way, and then the sunrise at 5:30. One of the coolest things was talking to our guides. They have never left that village. Their entire lives have been spent in that one spot, taking tourists into the desert. But they seem content. The people are poor there, but they seem to live relatively
happy lives. The kids get at you though. They kind of chase while you're on the camel asking you to buy little figurines they made out of palms. Most of them don't go to school; they work and help the family. But one girl broke my heart. She asked Shannon for a pen, and I found and extra one I had. She lit up when she got it. Who knows, maybe that's the only thing she has to write and draw with at home. My dad (The Disney Light-Up Pen King) would fare pretty well in Morocco.
All-in-all, a really nice trip. A bit sad in the end though. I left Madrid the day after we got back, so I had to say goodbye to my home, my city, and most importantly, my friends. I also received news that my mom's sister had died that week. So, it's been well timed that I am traveling alone. It gives me time for reflection and solitude. I'm so glad that I didn't plan this trip with other people. I don't think I would have been able to enjoy the company. I think I prefer traveling with friends, though. I really am such an extrovert, not meaning overly outgoing, but that I really need to be around people. But, being alone for a bit is good for me. But of course you guys know that I'm looking forward to being home and seeing you guys.
it up, time to hit the beach!