Sunday, August 23, 2009

From Moroc with Love

Wow I didn't expect to find myself on the African continent.
Strange but good.

I spent the last couple of days hanging out in the small village of Ait Hamza about 3hours from Fes. I'm couchsurfing with a couple PeaceCorps volunteers, Naima and Naddia. I definitely love it.

The benefits of escaping the big cities and tourist traps are many. There are disadvantages but they number only a few.
Yesterday we hiked and explored the mountains around the town after enjoying a fantastic cous cous prepared by friends of Naddia.

Today marks the first day of Ramadan. I'm fasting along with everyone else. You may not drink or eat anything during the day for 1 month. I'll only participate for a day as tomorrow I fly out to Spain. The morning started by drumming at 3am outside of everyones doors to do the only thing that drums at 3am are good for.. Waking ever living soul up. This kind gesture was to remind us to eat before the sun rose so that we'd have a bit of strength to carry ourselves through the day.

Tonight we will join a family that Naddia works with at the weavers collective to break fast. (The 3am meal is dinner by the way)

While I've been thrown completely out of my element in Morocco I am oddly drawn to it. Possibly I could get to understand and appreciate bucket baths and pit toilets.
I already appreciate the people and find many similarities in regards to family (ohana) and hospitality between Hawaii and Morocco. People here are generous to a fault. I sat eating the cous cous with an elderly woman with 3 teeth and others of her family. She kept telling me to eat eat! or tcha tcha (in Tamazight a Berber language) I ate and ate to the amuzement of my Peace Corps friends. They told me that food would be forced upon me until I popped or just plain stopped eating.

I did learn how to make a cous cous ball (the proper way to eat it by the way) from the woman. She was very happy to see me finally accomplish the task of making one. She also joked that I had hair like a woman but I took that and the toothless smiles as compliments.

Till next time!

Rock jumping and camels on the beach. Devils Rock.

Fess and Barka two couchsurfers I stayed with in Agadir.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Morocco: Fez to Marrakech

WOW! Morocco is a world upon itself that I did not expect. Crowded markets and tourist traps.

Fez was too crowded and insane for me. The Medina there is made up of 3000 unamed streets that wind in and out and can be quite daunting to find the way back to the main street.

Right now in Morocco I hear the call to prayer. The 5 times daily call reminds those to pray and worship no other god but GOD. To rise up for prayer and salvation.

I flew to Fez and caught an 8hour train to Marrakech. They oversell the tickets so there were people standing in the aisle and imbetween the seats. I sat next to a really nice Moroccan family that didn't speak a lick of english. They offered me food and I offered them mine. People in Morocco are very friendly and warm hearted.

In Fes a young boy showed me around the Medina and took me to expensive shops and restaurants where he earned a commission if I bought anything. It can be much more expensive in Morocco than one would imagine. It is best to avoid the touristy areas. But even areas away from the medina there are those who want you to buy carpets and hash from them. The trick is to be polite but firm.

Today I will venture off into the Medina with some other travellers and a friend who lives in Marrakech to see the sights. To experience the complex tourist trap that is the Moroccan Medina.