In a desperate attempt to satisfy 'the bug' (once again) this broad goes abroad. This time to Morocco.
02.24.2010 - 03.09.2010 75 °F
I just got quite a shock, looking at my last post it was exactly a year ago today (more now...). Can't have been that long!
Well much has happened since my last entry -- I ended up staying in Chamonix until October 2009, in which time I became Women's Club Champion of Chamonix Golf Club and for my 24th birthday rode a mountainbike around Mont Blanc, Europe's tallest mountain.
After what seemed an adequate bout in Europe (and Pittsburgh, and back to Europe), I decided to return home after a year and a half to see my family and spend the winter in warmth. Maui was lovely as ever - sunshine, rainbows, waterfalls, the whole lot. The job market was eerily quiet yet somehow I managed to snag 3 part-timers.
While it may have been wiser to stick with work in such a struggling economy, I decided to do just the opposite. Off to Morocco to spend all my hard-earned money. In my defense, however, I did do a favor for 3 struggling Mauians by opening my positions. Also, what little money I have is bound to last longer unemployed in Morocco in a camper van than on Maui.
Home for the next 2 months
Woke my first morning, opened the door & saw this
I've been in Morocco for two weeks now. The culture shock has subsided as has the jetlag (14 hour difference) and things are fantastic. Upon first entering the country, seeing women wrapped up from head to toe in near-80 degree weather was a bit shocking but has now become an everyday norm. Entire carcasses of meat hanging from open-air butcher stands complete with dancing flies are "ok" though I've yet to buy meat from them. Stray dogs and cats are EVERYWHERE and I still find them adorable. Come to think of it I'm not entirely convinced some of those meat carcasses aren't dog, but I'm not eatin from there, so its none of my concern. Meats like sausage and bacon are never actually made of pork as Arabs are not allowed; instead the packages have sub-headings under Bacon! reading "de boeuf" meaning, Bacon!...of beef.
Meat for sale
French is everyone's secondary language here, meaning that I am still screwed but have found more reasons to try speaking it than when I was in Chamonix, France. Everything seems to be cheaper here except booze and anything in western packaging. A loaf of fresh-made Moroccan bread costs 1 dirham, the equivalent of about 10cents. A campsite for the night with facilities, water, and security costs around five dollars a night. Three BAG-FULLS of oranges, bananas, and vegetables costs about two dollars, and hand-made leather Moroccan slippers cost anywhere from 4-9 dollars. I bought 2 pairs and I don't even like shoes. I love Morocco.
Cheaper than a taxi?
Moroccan girl & ma
A bottle of wine, however, is cheap by US standards (25 dirham, 3 bucks) but expensive when you think about all the fruit you can buy with the same amount. Consumption of alcohol is frowned upon by Moroccans (as a Moroccan, not as a Westerner) and so grocery stores that sell alcohol (if you can find them) have a separate check out line for Moroccans with black bags and an exit that leads out the back so the aren't embarrassed. It's a bit like buying pornography. Or so I'm told.
We started in Casablanca and are now much further south in Tafraoute, a beautiful bouldery oasis in the hilly region we're in. It's getting deserty as we head inland. We travel south and I become more and more comfortable. As time passes, climes warm and the coastline drifts out of sight. The more we travel the more I can see Morocco as a kind of wonderland (easier seen if I were on a 250cc KTM). It is a place where travelers in their camper vans come together for a meal between surfing sessions and every walk into town is like a trip to the pet store where I ooh and aah over puppies and kittens.
Maybe it's something in the water but after two weeks I can look past the fact that the path to the ocean is littered with plastic and glass shards, the puppies and kittens are covered in ticks, and my sweater smells of goat shit. But I don't care because the puppies are still cute, the people friendly, and the scenery beautiful - wouldn't change a thing.