Morocco - we're not in Kansas anymore!

June 4, 2006

 

Please excuse any grammer and spelling errors because this keyboard is beyond ridiculous. It took me five minutes to find the full stop. As I was about to say we are in Morocco and have been for a few days already. To get here Sally and I caught a 30 minute ferry ride from Tarifa, 50 minutes later we arrived in Tangiers. Sally and I were a little aprehensive about coming through this port town as we had been told by everyone who had been here that it was an awful place where people had been abducted and mobbed by crowds of taxi drivers and beggers but when we arrived nothing happened. we got off the ferry and were on our way to information when this representitive asked us if he could help. Without wanting any money he told us where to find the cheapest cab and how much it should cost. Then when we were walking to the cabbies noone bothered us. He took us straight to the train station and helped with our bags. Then we thought this was too easy, we have to get tricked somewhere, but the ticket guy spoke english even though we ordered in French and he told us how to get the best price. Then while boarding the train the conductor said where we had to switch. Then the carriage we sat in the lady spoke english and was goign to Casablanca so we just followed her. After she left there was an old couple that negotiated the cab fare to the Hotel. Apart from the stinking hot weather, the train ride wasn't that bad.
The tour started off a bit disorganised with the leader not actually catching up with us when he said he would and then potentially leaving without us, but we caught up when we were meant to be leaving and all is peachy. We only stayed in Casablanca for the one night and then drove to a place called Meknes which is sort of north west I think. We did manage to see the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca before we left which was very amazing. The size of the plqce was incredible. It was locqted on teh shore line fo Casablanca because there is something in the Quaran saying that there should be a Mosque half over water so the King decided that the people should have it and taxed them to high heaven in order to pay it off: This place was huge and made with all local materials. they had only imported the 80 chanderlers fro, Venice and a panel of Marble as well.I cant explain the scale of this place but this was the second largest mosque next to Mekka, so that might help.  
When we got Meknes our Local Guide joined the group and showed us around the town. I have come to realise that the Moroccan people are very into doors and entrances and walls. I'm not really understanding the significance of some of these but I have come to the conclusion that the walls and doors are so pretty because foreigners are not allowed entrance anywhere. This guide was really good and after a good feed I was ready for bed:
Something that did shock me was that the environment here is not so different from that of rural Australia. Looking out the train window I was expecting to see desert for most of the trip when in reality there were feilds of farmland and even some gum trees. I think the only diofference between here and Australia was that where we' have cattle they have donkeys. In the cities it is a lot different though. Very in your face poverty which I am finding it hard to cope with. But all in all it has been good: We are off to Fez tomorrow which should be cool: Heard lots of good things about Fez!

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