Morocco: Only Slightly Abridged (with Barcelona BONUS!)

We made it back! G. is now off to study abroad in London and I…took a nap.

But, since it’s too late to read for skool anymore, I figured it must be high time to blog!

We commence.

To say that our moms (and our mom’s mom) were nervous about our trip to Morocco would be a gross understatement. They even schemed and tried to convince us to go somewhere else. We were persistent, though, and richly rewarded for being obstinate children. Morocco was a sight and sound spectacular and the memory of our traveling grandaddy Jude (no small impetus for the trip) was with us around every nook and cranny of the souk.

But, rather than retell the story, I’d rather let the story tell itself. Because our moms were nervous, they insisted on frequent emails…several emails per day later, there is a wordy, unfiltered log of our trip. I’ll cut and paste some of my favorites.

(Oh, I should also mention G. and I started the trip with a MEGA walk around Barcelona with Jude’s signature conductor hat…from La Barceloneta to Gràcia with a quick stop at Plaça Felip Neri, one of my faves)

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June 30th, 9 am.

Note to mom: We made it!

Mom’s response: Fantastic.  Please keep in touch.  I don’t care how much texts are…gmommy, Megan and I are on task to make sure you are safe and having a good time. [G. and I laughed a lot about that “on task” part]

June 30th, 9 pm.

Note to mom, plus photo: The chocolatey coconut balls covered with powdered sugar and the chocolate swirly peanut bars were my favorite, naturally:)

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ImageMom’s response: Who the heck knew they had such cool stuff in Morocco? Thanks for sharing them I love these phones. I love getting the pictures!!!!

July 1st, 3:30 pm

Note to mom: So, momason (Mom-a-son is a family nickname for a mom, like how in Japanese you become “Yoko-san”). Here’s the story for the morning. We had our amazing breakfast and then headed into the maze that is the medina. We saw a medrassa, which is the old school where they used to teach Koran. It was beautyfull- it reminded me so much of Granada.

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Then, G. and I tried to bargain, albeit unsuccessfully with a guy for some drawer pulls for Rafa, but in the end his final price was still too high or me.

Then, G.and I just wandered in the direction of the tannery and some guy asked if we wanted to see his rug workshop, which is a co-op- which means set prices and no bargaining, which is just what the doctor ordered. So we walked up a tight stairwell and saw the men at the looms (men weave and women do the embroidering) and then he took us to the display room (a part of which you see in the photo), brought us a Moroccan tea (which he called “berber whiskey”- really just mint tea with a lot of sugar) and he showed us no less than 100 rugs. He was very kind and patient with me and gave us a very fair price (I paid around 60 euro for 2- a rug made of cactus silk- a little larger than a welcome mat- and another made of camel wool with a very ornate design, which is about 3″x3″)

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After that, Grace and I made it to the tannery (like three different guys showed us the way- each a different segment- because the rug shop owner asked them to help us) now were pooped and just resting at the hotel for a bit. Hope you like the photos!

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Mom’s response, 3:37 pm (she’s speedy)

How fun!  Grand-daddy Jude would love all of this!  I love the purposefulness of that skirt!

Get your nap!

Keep being smart and alert….like you are doing so beautifully!

I luvya like crazeeeee!

 

Walking to some ruins right outside the city walls….

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A scarf on your head in ALMOST as good as a baseball cap for protecting the eyez.

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Note to mom, July 2nd, 12:30 am

Hi momason.
Just letting you know were turning in for the night. G and I (and two other American women- an aunt and her niece) were just talking to the manager of the hotel for like two or three hours. He is like having our own Rick Steves. He tells is where to go and how to get there and gives us recommended prices for things on the market (and, as it turns out, he says 500 dh- $65- is a great deal for the three lamps I want because he just paid 600 for one of them!) also, even though 250000 people live in the Medina (not fez- just the walled old city), it is a small world. Shop owners already recognize us. One guy, who we bought a jug of water from yesterday, recognized us and was very proud of me for remembering part of the Arabic he tried to teach me the day before. He shook my hand and smiled (he was a little more gruff yesterday) and I felt pretty good about myself.
Rick Steves says something like “good travel is about making relationships”. Like, what do we remember about Ireland? Patty and Jerry (our bus drivers on a tour of the country). And from Paris? Speaking with the chef in that tiny restaurant we went to with Marcia. You don’t necessarily remember every site you saw. Here, I find that you are forced to build a relationship with people. You can’t just go into a shop and look at the cash register and leave without saying a word. I mean, it took us over an hour to just have a conversation about the rugs and I’ve spent thirty minutes considering lamps, learning the shop keeper’s name, etc. it makes it all more impactful. And when you say you’ll come back tomorrow, they respond “inshallah”- God willing- which I think is really beautiful. Anyhoo, one more night and then home to Barcelona on Wednesday.

More stories and emails to come, inshallah.

Xoxox

Mom’s response, 12:40 am

Sweetie pie, this is a great summary. I think you could almost take this email and cut and paste it into your blog {Will do!}.  It sounds like somewhat of a bit of a shopping experience trip and that you’re having some good fun.  I also think the two of you (G. and I) have a lot in common, you know. Thank you for sending all these emails it means a lot to me. Lots of love to you,

Yo momma

….

July 3rd, 4:54 pm

Hey Momason.
Last email from Morocco. G and I had a good morning, but we’re getting tired, so the timing is perfect. We visited one last museum, I made one last purchase (soaps and rose oil and lavender-chamomile oil) and now were hanging out waiting for Ahmed to come at 515 ish to take us to the taxi. Success 🙂

Breakfast on the SPECTACULAR terrace of Dar Sienna

ImageMom’s response, 5:54 pm

Fantastic!  Thank you for the note.
 
Tell Gracie hello for me.
 
Safe travels!!!  Whooohooo…
 

(Our last stop? A cake at Café Clock. YUM!)

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