Sunday, March 6, 2011

My experience in Morocco and their various homeless men...

I thought that when I came to Spain, I could just hop on a train or bus and go anywhere I wanted in Europe. While that is kind of true, it is more difficult to travel then expected, especially because we got to Spain pretty late in the game, and prices went up. The one place I always said I would go was Morocco, but only because I wanted to brag to people that I was so close to Africa.
I am so glad I went to Morocco.

I went there with 8 other girls on my program through DescoverSevilla (a travel company based in Sevilla for study abroad students), and for 180 Euro, we spent 2 days 2 nights in Morocco with food and travel expenses included. Our hotel was in Tangier, where the ferry was, and we spent one day in Chefchaouen and one day in Tétouan.

I live on Long Island, and have been to Manhattan more times than I can remember, and I tend to pride myself in knowing how to dealing with homeless men, and in turn, I make myself sound like a "New Yorka". I came to Sevilla, and started dealing with Gypsies, who will read your palm for 40 Euro. Neither of these hold a candle to the men in Morocco. We left the hotel and were swarmed by vendors all selling silver bracelets, leather bags and various "moroccan" items. One man even had a mirror and would put it up to you whilst saying "YOU LOOK NICEEE" in his best Borat voice (which was probably not an act).

Chefchaouen, about a 2.5 hour ride from our hotel is beautiful, with it's white washed buildings and bright blue doors. It was basically what I expected, with many winding little streets, and semi-dirty children playing in them. As a group of 30 Americans, we got stared at, and cat called in at least 3 languages, but it's to be expected. I felt a little uncomfortable walking the streets, not because I felt unsafe, but because I felt badly about being an abroad student, touring this city, while there was poverty all around me. At the same time, I think it was very good for me to see it. We were supposed to go shopping there, but we got to the square with the shops after our walking tour, and were told that there was a "peaceful protest of about 500 people" that was going to happen, so we all scurried to the bus for an early departure. Apparently, 500 people don't even live there, but no one wants to be "one of the 45 American students caught in the violent outburst" on the news, so we booked it home.

The next day we went to Tétouan, which I found to be very similar to the last city, "well, you've seen once Moroccan city you've seen them all". We went to a Berber Medicine shop, where we showed us all different kinds of spices and teas, and where you could get massages from men who were, to quote my friend and former housemate, Jamie "dangerously close to cute" for only 3 Euro. We also went to a rug store, where very pushy men tried to make you buy beautiful rugs, for like low low price of 100 Euro. The interesting thing about bartering, is that they give you a price that's about 4 times the amount that the item is actually worth, so you have to offer them a laughable number so you both come out happy.

I'm not a huge shopper, but I did want to get something from all the crazy shops we went to, I ended up getting a bracelet for 300 dirham (3 euro) and 2 wooden camels for 500.

It was actually the first thing we did, and it is something I never thought I would do. Although, it was much like pony's rides a a circus or a rich kid's birthday party. You get on the Camel, and a man pulls you around for 5 minutes. Although, unlike the circus, the man pulling the Camel kept yelling "OH SHEET, OH SHEET, OHMYGOD, TAKE A PICTURE TAKE A PICTURE". The Camel was bumpier than expected, but have very gentile personalities, and erred on the side of adorable.

No comments:

Post a Comment