Morocco Express

June 13, 2006

So I am now in Marrekech, the final stop for our Morocco tour but we have had an amazing time. We have managed to stuff some of the most memorable experiences of Morocco into only 11 days. After leaving the somewhat unromantic city of Casablanca we headed off to a place called Meknes where we were guided around by a local through the Medina (old part of town) including the largest grainery in Morocco. Travelling through the hustle and bustle of the streets left us thirsty so we decided to give the local wine a go. After searching for most of the night and being given directions that differ each time but lead to nowhere, we decided to let oneof the guys fro, the hotel we were staying at get it. While we were waiting in the reception area, totally without prompting, the guy behind the desk started doing stand up comedy to us (the only people in the area). Then when the wine arrived they brought out some glasses and he continued. So for the cheap price of 10 australian dollars we had a great night of Meknes Red Wine in the Reception of Hotel Nice with stand up comedy included (no extra charge).  
Then we left to go to Fez. An interesting town, the holy centre of Morocco (Imperial Colour of green), that was alive with the Arabic music festival. A bit like an Arabic Big Day Out. Except the music was made for your grandparents. The streets were filled with people and the markets were alive with the smells of spices; ripe fruits and various Moroccan desserts. While here we also managed to visit the old Medina, again with a local guide who weaved us through the rabbit warren that make up the streets of these quite often slums and pointed out some of the fasinating architechture. Moroccans are just obsessed with entry ways, doors and gates. We ca,e to the conclusion that this was because we are not allowed entry into anywhere so they make the door worth looking at! On this day we had a delicious lunch at a place that was drenched in Moroccan charm;  
After Fez we spent a long time travelling towards the Sahara where we had the most amazing time. Sally and I once again found ourselves riding on the back of a camel. This time it was at sunset as we were guided deep into the wilderness of the desert. The Sahara is one of the most fasinating places I have been. The scenery is always changing as the wind rushes by. The sand almost glows as the sun tries to hide behind the mountain size sand dune. I am not sure how but our guide managed to find the single hut that was to be our home for the night in the midst of all this emptiness. We had a beautiful dinner in the moonlight that was so clear that it was like a giant street lamp. This was great at dinner but as I tried to live out the romantic notion of sleeping under the stars the moon kept me awake. Eventuallly at about 2AM he got lost in the sky and that was when the sky came alive. So far from any city the shine of the stars were not dampened. They were shining like diamonds on black velvet. The milky way was so rich with thick clusters of stars that it almost looked like a cloud. And just when you begin to be hypnotised by the beauty of the sky then a shooting star crosses in a flash of brilliance and wakes you up. We woke early before sunrise and climbed to the top of the sand dune and watched the desert wake up. I will never forget that night!
After there we slowly made our way through various town, stopping at Dades Valley which is a huge rocky gorge. An experience that unfortunately followed the Sahara and couldnt compare but was interesting and fun.
Now we are in Marrekech and I have spent the whole day weaving my way through the Markets and Souks and trying to avoid being abducted. These markets seem to go on forever and I mean it! We spent all day and not even a third was completed. Everyone still speaks German orr Dutch to me, or just blurt out ´Fish and Chips, Beautiful.´ This is something I have now beome used to but am looking forward to Europe and Civilisation again.  
We have another marathon journey ahead of us. A 12hour overnight trai ride from Marrekeh to Tangier, the taxi battle in tangier, the Ferry backto Tarifa (theoretically 35minutes but more like an hour), the bus from Tarifa to Algerciras ,mthe bus from there to Sevilla (another 2hours) and then finding the hostel when you don´t speak a word of Spainish - this sounds like a mastercard advertisment - .......priceless.
All in all, my impressions of Morocco were that the people can be friendly and lovely but always at a price, Marrekech is too touristy and Casablana is not romantic. Fez is a cultural hub but with lots of poverty and my faourite place would have to be Meknes, that is excluding the Sahara Desert of course.

 

 

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