Morocco!

The night before leaving for Morocco, I tried my luck cooking in Manuela’s kitchen. I planned to sauté some chicken in a sauce pan, so I doused it in olive oil and tossed on the chicken. I have not had much practice cooking in the past, and I learned that night that olive oil likes to shoot everywhere when it is heated up. However, it didn’t make too much of a mess. After that, I used the leftover grease to cook scrambled eggs. Best dinner ever or best dinner ever?

I woke up early Saturday morning to get everything packed up as our bus was going to leave at 9am. After walking into the kitchen to make breakfast, I noticed it was a war zone with jams, cookies, and other dishware scattered on the counter. Apparently my housemate, Nick, had enjoyed himself the night before. Anyway, I got my things, headed to the bus, and we were on our way due south towards Gibraltar.

 

Gibraltar is the most southern point in Europe and it was quite impressive. We got to see St. Michael’s Cave, which had quite the assortment of stalactites. In that area there are a lot of monkeys, who casually loaf around waiting for people to feed them. In our bit of free time before heading on the ferry, we got to walk around and see the different shops in the Gibraltar area. While everything seemed to be inexpensive, it is important to remember that the area is controlled by the UK, and therefore everything is priced in pounds. The best thing I saw was a sign for the restaurant Lord Nelson’s Casemates, and if you see the picture below you will understand why. Just imagine that menu being read out loud in a British accent.

 

We took a Ferry from Algeciras to Ceuta, which while on the African continent, is actually controlled by Spain. The Ferry ride over was alright, but near the end my stomach was ready for land. After passing through customs, we took a bus to our hotel in Tetuan, where we had an authentic Moroccan dinner of fish and chips (just kidding). I struck up a conversation with these two Finnish people that were at my table. I had never met people from Finland before. The group itself was about 30 people, consisting of half American and half international. I had gone on this trip alone, but I ended up spending the majority of my time with the Finnish (Markus and Hanna) and some Germans (André and Sassi) I met. All of them were very nice.

 

We started our day Sunday quite early and made our way towards Chefchaouen. We got a guided tour of a neighborhood, which was beautifully painted with blue paint. Our tour guide was quite interesting. He was doing 1 of 3 things the entire time: speaking gibberish, snorting tobacco, or yelling ‘Habibi’ which means ‘darling.’ Afterwards we did some shopping, where I purchased an authentic Moroccan tunic. The guy wanted 80 Euros, but I talked him down to 25 Euros. For the rest of the day while I was wearing it, wherever I was, I was called the same name by every Moroccan person I came in contact with, “Ali Baba.”

 

We then headed back to Tetuan for lunch at a lovely restaurant with a folkloric floor show. This meal was more traditional, as it came with couscous. I had my picture taken with the band, mostly because I blended in so well. Before leaving I went to use the bathroom and when I came out the group had left. Fortunately one of the waiters ran with me and we found the group. They weren’t kidding when they said you need to be on time.

 

We concluded the day by heading to Tangier, which is where our dinner and new hotel was located. We got to browse some of the shops there, which had everything and anything you would want. I was tempted to try some sweets being sold on the street, but I was not in the mood to risk getting sick.

 

The dinner and fantasy show at the hotel was a lot of fun. A few of my friends got pulled on to the floor to participate in some of the acts. They were both great sports about it. After the show the group went to a club, which ended up not being so fun and they returned shortly after arriving. I had the foresight to not go and slept very well.

 

On our last day, we visited the Cave of Hercules and Cape Espartel. It is the point directly in the middle of where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet. If it was summer time, I would say that it would be a lovely vacation spot. Afterwards, we got to have a short camel ride. It was a lot less romanticized than I thought it would be. We just walked in a circle for about 2 minutes. Nevertheless, I can now say I have ridden a camel.

 

The ferry ride back was a lot more exciting, mostly because the weather was nicer and I was not feeling sick. Markus and I were on the main deck most of the time enjoying the ocean air. Strangely enough, there was no smell of salt there. I was surprised. I was also surprised how green Morocco was, and the fact that it was raining there. When I think Africa, I think desert and lack of rain. However, the northern part of the country was quite lush and beautiful.

 

Well, I can now say I have been on 4 continents. Not too shabby…

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 at 1:15 pm and is filed under Study Abroad. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

 

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