Playing Tourist is Fun but then you go broke after!

This blog focuses on my adventures in the South of Morocco and ultimately in the desert! ☺ It was fun but like the title of the post suggests, really pricy! Being a tourist sure ain’t easy! It is a privilege

Hi everyone!!! ☺ Hope you all are doing fine. I am doing alright! I have exactly one month and I will be in beautiful Madagascar. As you can imagine I am getting really excited! And the closer June gets here actually, the longer time seems to drag… Don’t give me wrong, it’s not like I am bored here. I have got my hands full. I submitted two of my papers, and I got two more to go both due next week. And I have a final exam in my French course. Also, I am trying to see Morocco one last bit and say goodbye to the people who made this experience an exceptional one. The next few week-ends, I will try to go to other towns to see a few people who helped me a lot.

So last week, my friend Gracia— a Malagasy girl born and raised in Germany — came to visit. She was here for four days only but we had a blast during those four days. We went to Marrakesh, again, because she wanted to go to the desert and ride camels. I happily agreed with her plan since she bothered flying in to Morocco to see me. Everyone seems to have a visit from either family or friends so I really appreciated having someone visit me. And beside, homesickness was starting to creep again.

On Wednesday, I picked her up from Casablanca airport and we spent the night at a Malagasy family there. Then, Thursday we went to the beach and took the train to Marrakesh. We stayed at a cheap but pretty bed-and-breakfast for one night and the next day we went with a touring agency to go to Zagora. It was not really in the heart of the Sahara desert, but it was on the edge. The trip to the real desert with nice dunes would require 3 days minimum and we just didn’t have that kind of time. But Zagora was good enough, and it was really affordable. As you know, it’s the end of my time here in Morocco, so I am starting to go broke. The less I spend the better.

We spent two days and one night on this organized tour. We were in a nice van and the journey to Zagora was about a 10-hour drive. But we had various stops along the way and lunch and whatnot so the drive was maybe like 8hours. Still not the best but what I enjoyed was getting to know the other tourists in the bus. There were maybe 15 tourists in the bus. They came from England, Poland, Romania, Pakistan, India, Chile, Hungary, the Netherlands, France, and there were Gracia and I, technically Madagascar, Germany, and U.S. or however you want to call us. It was a group of people with so much diversity and uniqueness. I met a hippie woman who was without a doubt the most fascinating woman I have ever met. She was from Poland living in England. She was on the van with her five-year old daughter and husband. She was a naturalist/environmentalist/artist. She just enjoyed life so much and I learned a lot from talking to her. Another one was a Pakistani woman who lives in England as well. She was very kind and I was captured by how willingly she took me as a “daughter” in a matter of hours. She helped Gracia and I when we needed it. She even gave me a pair of shoes that she bought brand new so I can use it so I don’t damage my Tom’s. They were the fake Nikes but she told me that they will serve me right for the next month til I leave Morocco. I appreciated her kindness. And it was not only the fact that she gave me a pair of shoes, it’s the fact that she took me under her wing. Gracia is seventeen, you see. I was kinda like the adult who had to plan and figure out our next move. Beside, I lived in Morocco and Gracia was only visiting for a few days. But I have to admit, I missed having someone to take care of me. Rashda, the Pakistani mother of mine, took good care of us. We were like families and I am happy to say that she managed to find a way to email me. I don’t know how she did it but I am glad we managed to stay in touch. I know that if one day, I ever go to England, I will have a home. WE got a long because we were so alike, and I was kinda the daughter she never had. She has one son, who was 21. And after that, because of health reason, she could no longer have children. She loved my vibrant personality and it helped me embrace my loud self and not be embarrassed about it. It’s a fact that I am often the loudest person, but Momma Rashda showed me what a beautiful thing it is to be able to be lively and outgoing. I mean, I have heard people mention it all the time but there’s something that this woman just said that made me appreciate me. I need to be more humble but I think self-appreciation is also crucial. Anyway, it was definitely a fun but I also learned a lot.

I honestly talk too much. I should just get to the point. Overall though, it was a great experience. The Berber people, the native people of Morocco, were very friendly. They make lots of money off tourists but they loved when they saw Gracia and I. They thought we resembled them. The tour was nice, and riding camels was fun but tiring. We visited touristic sites where they filmed movies like Gladiator and Cleopatra. One drawback was the fright the road to Zagora caused to all of us. It was not particularly an enjoyable experience because it was too serpentine. The five-year old girl suffered a lot due to carsickness. Also, everything was very expensive, e.g. water and lunch. But I think it was worth it. It was a great adventure, and I enjoyed meeting new people and catching up with Gracia.

Something I need to mention is that there were friends who helped me cuz as I said, it’s the end of my semester abroad and I am starting to run out of money. Because I have some seriously awesome people in my life, I was able to go to Zagora and ride camels. What a blessing it is to have that kind of support. Knowing that most of these people were college students, but yet they still asked me if I am doing okay and as soon as I said I am not doing too well they offered to help. It’s humbling! So from the bottom of my heart Thank you! It would have been a shame to be in Morocco and not go to the desert, even if it was the edge of it. Thank you so much for your love. I will cherish your act of kindness for many years to come and I will try hard to make you proud and to help you in any way that I can. Again, thank you.

Now let’s get down to business and show you all the photos. Gracia took most of the pictures, and she is gonna send me a CD but til then we will make due with what I took on my phone. I hope you enjoyed them!

Gracia and I. I met her a couple of times in the U.S. She and her aunt Fanja came to New Mexico once. And last summer, she and Fanja went to Rainbow Trail — the camp I worked at — and we spent an afternoon together in a small town near camp. Our next meeting, I hope would be me visiting her because it’s always her visiting me.
Panoramic photo of the Berber village where lots of movies were filmed.
Fellow tourists, a.k.a van mates!
The lady in white is Momma Rashda!
My friend, I named him Caliente cuz I miss green chile so much, says hi!
What an amazing experience! It’s nice to check this one off my bucket list. This one I named him Olive.
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