Morocco

Morocco or Bust…

Originally posted October 13, 2008 on Viaje de una Vida

I just had the amazing opportunity to spend the last 4 days at a surf excursion in Tagazout, Morocco. It was such an amazing experience – the sunsets, people, food, the day to day, and the city itself was a respite from the bustle of Barcelona. I even got to ride a shamu! (arabic for camel)

 

A few of my classmates at the time set up the excursion and invited me last minute, of course I was going to say yes! After our bumpy arrival late the night before, our group started surfing the following morning at Banana Point. I had my first surf lesson… in Africa.

After a couple sand test runs I jumped into the waves. I walked out to water with my board to my side, and began to paddle wide and deep when the swell started. I turn and paddled as fast as I could and as the board pushed up, I shifted my weight to my left side, pushed up and was on my knees – surfing!

After trying to stand for several more hours, I decided to head back to the shore when I realized I couldn’t see 5ft in front of me! I was surrounded by a fog of sand… I was in an actual sand storm. I rushed back to the beach and everyone in our group was wrapping towels around their heads to keep the sand out of their eyes.

 

 

Our surfer instructors took everyone to the local market where sanitation is an if and bargaining is a must. I spent the rest of the afternoon walking around fruit stands, tea shops, bowls towering over with spices, and women grinding almonds to make a delicious raw butter. Racks of woven shoes, henna artists, ancient pharmacists, and bootleggers lined the narrow walkways.

There was everything and anything all for a price and up for bargain. I haggled through my day and came out with a traditional hookah pipe for flavored tobacco, white and gold Moroccan tea glasses, lemon herb tea, warm pita bread, mixed spices, and some earrings all for under 25 dollars. A pretty good score.

The next afternoon we went to a functioning traditional public bathing house called a Hamam. These hamams were created for several of the Islamic cultural practices; the hamams are used to get a hot bath very cheaply, and to spend time socializing and relaxing with friends in an otherwise very disciplined culture.

 

 

The next day was full of rain! A sandstorm and rain? What luck! So we waited until the afternoon where we went down to town and rented ATVs for an hour. We drove them down to the deserted beach where we spun, went off hills, and raced down the limitless sand.

The rain was great since no dust kicked up and we got to see the beautiful sunset on the empty beach. That night everyone had fun saying goodbye. And in the morning we headed back to Marrakesh. I received some last minute henna to send me off.

 

 

Now I’m back in Barcelona where our story started off, and now looking back on the whirlwind of Africa, Morocco, and all that comes with Islamic culture. It’s a country of unexpected friendliness and a stark conservative way of life. Children follow you around and play games and smile coyly. Women are covered head to toe but give you hugs and smiles in the street. Locals crowd the TVs and watch the big soccer match on the edge of their seats. No one goes out after dark and wild dogs roam the streets. Everyone speaks French and call you madame and monsieur.

Going to a starkly different world has made me so thankful for everything I have in my life, and I mean EVERYTHING. I can go wherever, work wherever, be whoever, and my options are endless. Going to Morocco (which I loved exactly the way it is) has made me so utterly thankful and entirely humble to live in the country that I live in, have the family I have, and see the horizons that I do.

*All photos by Observant Nomad
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probably my favorite post of yours so far!

Julia

Beautifully written then and now! Love you so….

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