That would be Arabic for Morocco! (or Maroc, or Marruecos, depending on where you’re from). Which is in AFRICA, in case you didn’t know. I’ve now been to 3 different continents! Exciting. Although I realized that Morocco is much more Middle Eastern than African in terms of culture, architecture, language, etc. We arrived in Tangier in the early afternoon on Friday, a quick flight despite the 2 hour time difference. The owner of the house we were renting sent for a big van to pick up all 14 of us from the airport (which could hardly be considered an airport – it was much more like a single hanger.) Our driver’s name was Chergy, which was absolutely hilarious. Anyone else think of Fergie? Hence his new nickname, Chergalicious. We were driven to Assilah, our town along the coast. Our house was located inside the Medina, which is the old part of town, walled off from the rest of the stores and restaurants. I couldn’t even contain my excitement when we got to our house. The view from Caitlin and I's room: It was absolutely incredible. Three floors with ocean views and a rooftop terrace where we watched the sun set over the water every night. I know I’ve said this after every trip we’ve taken, we this has been incredible!! The weather was perfect – hot but not scorching and sunny every day. We had two women that cook and clean for us. We got breakfast, which consisted of strawberries, jam, these thin crepe-type pancakes, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee, and dinner! The first night we had cous-cous, the second night fish, the third beef and the last night chicken. It was all SO delicious.
Every day consisted of roughly the same thing – we wake up, eat our great breakfast, and then either tan on the terrace or shop in the Medina (pictured below), eat an incredible dinner and then hang out for the rest of the night and play cards. The group has been so much fun. There was 8 of us in our house and then 6 more in the house around the corner. Our house was bigger so we would mostly hang out there. One day we decided to venture out of our routine and go into town to find someone to take us to Paradise Beach, a beautiful private beach we heard about. Instead of taking a taxi, we got these horses pulling flat, wooden carts to take us. We didn’t realize how far the beach was and it was so rocky we kept thinking we were going to fall off! It was such a funny adventure though. The beach was so beautiful, which made the whole trip worth it. There was only one other group on the beach – a bunch of older Spanish women. Our drivers stayed and hung out with us, playing hacky sack and stuff. The water was great and so refreshing. The whole day was amazing. I was pretty bummed to have to leave.
In many ways, Morocco was exactly how I expected it to be but it’s different to expect something and then experience it for yourself. This was my first time in a predominantly Muslim Arab country and it made me realize how little I understand about their culture. We obviously stood out since we’re light-skinned and none of us girls have been covering ourselves like women in their culture do. It’s very rare to see a woman in town, much less one with her shoulders, hair, and knees exposed. They definitely understand that we’re tourists but it doesn’t stop them from staring and making comments.
It was great to get a relaxing trip where we weren’t rushing around trying to see everything we possibly could in a short amount time. This was exactly what I needed before getting bogged down with final exams and papers approaching!