Salam Aleikum

Moroccan Flags

So I went to Africa.

In my mind, a trip to Morocco cues “The Lion King” theme song. Yeah, well, it’s not like that. It’s basically the exact same as Andalucia (southern spain) except wayyyy more poor and run down and dangerous.

Here’s what really happened.

Taylor, Shelly, Tori & I signed up for a weekend tour of northern Morocco. I had been in contact with “Abdel” the owner of the program, and all in Spanish (he doesn’t speak very much english), so it was complicated and we were unsure of a lot of details. But on Friday afternoon, we boarded a bus – Abdel turned out to be an older man (about 75) who had lived in Spain all his life and was the sweetest man ever – and his personality and demeanor reminded me of my granddad. So I couldn’t have felt safer. We drove to Algeciras to take the ferry across the Straits of Gilbralter to Ceuta (a city in Morocco that is actually owned by Spain). And it was then that my credit card decided not to work. Soooo I had no way of paying my 190 euros for this trip because I didn’t bring my other CCs since I didn’t want them to be stolen. (Smart, right?) Thank goodness for Taylor, who bailed me out of that sticky sitch.

So we took the ferry which takes about 1 hour – and oh my lanta, by the time we got off, I thought I was going to die. That ferry rocked soooo much, and there was 1 child near me screaming her head off, and another little boy throwing up everything in his stomach. So relaxing.

We got to Ceuta and boarded a bus for the Moroccan border & Tetuan, where we were staying. It didn’t take very long to get to the actual border, less than 1/2 an hour, but then we had to wait in line to go through border control for EVER. And, even though we never left the bus, and we never had to talk to the actual guards – Abdel took care of that for us – just being there was unsettling. People drive like maniacs, the guards look really scary (I think everyone in a uniform looks scary, so take that into account haha), and on the Moroccan side, there were tons of people running around carrying bags and heading towards Tetuan on foot. And so much trash everywhere.

Our Group with Michael Abdul Douglas

We met our tour guide on the bus during our wait at the border. Abdel brought him on the bus and told us, in spanish, “There has been a mix up, and we have a tour guide that only speaks Arabic and Swahili.” (We all look at each other like, are you serious??) Here I’m assuming that Abdel can speak arabic (apparently he only knows a little – but speaks fluent marroqui)  and would just translate to us.

He went on, “Soooo does anyone speak arabic?”

-silence and blank looks- (This is where I questioned WHY I paid to do this trip)

Abdel then introduced the tour guide, an arab man in his 40s with short hair and a mustache with gray in it. He spoke rapidly to us in arabic and then switched to spanish, then english, then french, then german, each time asking who could speak that language. Apparently he speaks 6 languages. And apparently this is a joke they pull every single weekend. Yeah – this arab humor, I don’t get it.

“My name is Abdul,” the tour guide said. “Actually my name is a lot longer, but you can just call me Mr. Michael Abdul Douglas.” Like I said, I don’t understand this humor.

Michael Douglas went on to explain all sorts of things about his country to us in a mix of Spanish (which almost all of us could understand) and english. And it was a little exciting to me because I didn’t notice when he switched from spanish to english. This is probably because of his strong arab accent, and the fact that I could understand his spanish much better than his english – which often made no sense to me.

So we drove to our hotel and enjoyed typical Moroccan cuisine served at the hotel (which was in the outskirts of the town, and a 4 star hotel and still really nice). Coming in to the country, I knew that it was likely we could get sick from the food. Health and food standards are different here. (they practically don’t exist) I knew that you never ever ever drink the water, but other than that I hadn’t been given much counsel. Well, Tori & Shelly had been warned not to eat the soup, or eat any fruits or veggies that were uncooked. Our first course at dinner? Soup. It was a creamy root vegetable one, and I tried it, and it was actually good. I thought it tasted like something my mom would make, so I convinced the others that one spoonful would not kill them, and they tried it too.

Then we had fried (?) fish and cooked vegetables and wild rice. I thought it was good, and I was so hungry I didn’t care and I ate it. And we had flan for dessert. (extreme disappointment over the lack of BAKLAVA) Afterwards, we went to bed, and oh my lanta, sleeping in a warm room after a long hot shower with a comfortable bed – it was wonderful.

I have a lot to say about Morocco & my experience, so I think I’ll divide it up into several different posts. Stay tuned to hear about camels, bartering, and islamic women. Post a comment! I miss hearing from everyone!

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7 thoughts on “Salam Aleikum

  1. Caitlin – you are such an adventure woman!! I am so proud of you! And I’m loving your posts. You do such a good job of describing your experiences that I feel like I’m there. :) So glad you’re having fun. Love- Mrs. Potter

  2. Caitlin,
    Sounds like your’re having a great time and having so many adventures! I love your stories!
    Praying for you!
    Mrs. Miller

  3. I am glad you didn’t tell me the tour guide story when I talked to you yesterday. It was really funny to read. By the way, did you get sick?

  4. Pingback: How I Went to Morocco for Under 200 Euros :: Soy Caitlin

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