Friday, September 10, 2010

Fui a Marruecos.

I had the very rare opportunity to go to the beautiful land of Morocco last weekend.

It was quite the cultural experience.  We were in a tour with about 30 students from all over (Germany, France, USA, Argentina, Spain, etc., etc.) and we went to three cities: Tetuan, Tangiers, and Chefchaouen.

Our first stop, Tetuan, was quite the experience.  We started our trip off in the Medina of Tetuan.  "Medina" in Arabic means "city," but it's also used to refer to the oldest part of the city, which is generally where the markets are, and is the most twisty and historical part of the city.  It was very interesting to see how markets like that work in other countries, but it was also quite overwhelming.

You don't quite get the effect of the medina from the pictures.  Imagine the smell of raw meat and fish, all kinds of fruits and vegetables, the sound of meat being chopped up, chickens being killed and deplumed, people yelling at each other from opposite sides of the street, mangey cats dissecting fish heads, flies buzzing on all foodstuffs, and a mysterious liquid running down the middle of the street.

Lots of culture.  Culture in your face, in your ears, splashing on your feet, and in your nose and mouth.  All kinds of culture; it was intense.

We toured around the medina for a few hours and learned some history about the various neighborhoods.  It was very interesting.

We were also taken to a carpet co-op where they showed us all kinds of carpets and blankets and things all hand made, hand-dyed and really really cool.

After our time in Tetuan, we went to Tangiers, and walked very briefly through the Medina.  It wasn't great.  We got to the medina just as everything was closing for the night.  I think we got to walk around for about 15 minutes, not really worth the trip there, in my opinion.  Especially because the only thing you could buy was like...Moroccan clothes, jewelry, knock off dvds and other assorted nonsense.  Plus everyone gave you stinkface and/or stared at you and followed you as you walked down the street.  Let's just wasn't the ideal environment for shopping....or existing.

We went back to our mediocre hotel after our long day, ate a mediocre dinner, and then went to bed, after most people took cold showers, for lack of hot water.

The next day we got up super early and headed to Chefchaouen.  It's a few hours into the heart of the country, over a few mountain ranges.  The whole city is painted blue and white.  It was spectacular.

I would love to go back again some day.  Next time, hopefully, I can go to visit some friends who know the cities they live in.  Also, I won't have to walk around in a group of 30 white people.

That's it for now!

¡Hasta luego!

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