Well folks, we’re still here! Lately we’ve been making the rounds through some of the largest cities and remotest outposts that Morocco has to offer. And aside from a few isolated incidents that registered on the negative side of our fun-o-meter, we’ve found Morocco (our last major stop before reentering that strange thing called ‘society’) to pretty much be the culminating experience we were hoping for.
This place is beautiful. The people, once we were savvy enough to know how to avoid all the hustlers, have been so warm and welcoming toward us. The food, while sometimes repetitive, has been delicious.
The best parts, though, have definitely been when we’ve been lucky enough to spend an extended amount of time with some locals, because that’s when we’ve really gotten to learn about the local culture.
We took a cooking class at the Clock Cafe (where we were the only two who had signed up that day!) in the city of Fes, and our teacher/chef was a wonderful woman named Souad who took us through the boisterous, and at times intimidating, market to purchase ingredients for our food, then gave us what I would say was our best cooking class from our entire trip.
And just a few days ago, we were staying at Kasbah Panorama (once again we were the only tourists there the whole time!) in the tiny town of Merzouga, where our three days there included hanging out with the friendly and laid-back staff, drinking mint tea (or “Moroccan whiskey” as it’s sometimes called) with Ahmed, who was one of the better English speakers on staff, and talked with him for a long time about Moroccan history.
But the highlight from our time in Merzouga was when we spent the night out at a camp in the desert sand dunes. Our guide, Yusuf, helped us hop onto our camels, then he led the camels for an hour and a half into the Erg Chebbi, the area of sand dunes right next to Merzouga. Once there, it was just the three of us (and the camels, named Jimi Hendrix and Penelope) at a semi-permanent camp they’d set up for these trips. Yusuf started making us dinner and told us not to help but to go hike up to the top of the dunes to see the sunset, so we did! What a humbling half hour that was, though. We both made it to the top, but not before we each had a few minutes where we thought we couldn’t go a step further. We thoroughly enjoyed the sunset, clouded over as it was, and then we returned to camp for Yusuf’s delicious dinner. After dinner Yusuf brought out the drums for a little jam session, and then we turned in early so we could wake up for the sunrise. What a beautiful place and unforgettable experience!
Thanks, Morocco! Shukran! See you next time! Inchofek menabad!