Sunday, December 2, 2007

Morocco

So my Euro-trip even landed me in another continent: Africa. I only had enough time to visit Rabat, the capital of Morocco, so that I would still have time to see the last 3 places I wanted to visit in Europe before heading back across the Atlantic.

The experience was something else. Having been to Europe twice before, there has been little culture shock thus far, but all that changed in Morocco. English is not widely spoken as has been the case so far in my trip. Instead, once in Morocco, people generally speak Arabic or French. Of course there was a sprinkling of people with English skills, so not all was lost. And what little I could remember from high school French proved to be very useful.

I took a ferry across from Spain, and then following the advice of travelers met along the way, headed straight for the train station to get out of Tanger. It is supposed to be full of people looking to rip-off tourists, though I can´t vouch for that either way, as I may have spent a total of 3 hours there. The train to Rabat was to be about 4 hours, according to the guy selling the tickets. My guide-book said 4 1/2 hours, but it ended up being more like 5 1/2. Unable to find anything to book online before going, I had only the name of a hostel written out on a piece of paper to show a cab driver. Turns out prices in Morocco are very cheap in comparison to that of Western Europe, so my cab ride was hardly a Euro. Though the hostel was incredibly cheap, it did lack things that most are accustomed to, such as toilet paper and warm water from the taps. No worries though, the nearby Hammam (public baths) and a package of pocket kleenex fixed all that.

Walking through the Medina was an experience all its own. The market had everything one could ever want to buy, plus some. And it was so big that it would be easy to get lost in there for days, if it weren´t for the fact that the place closes at night. Though I got lost in there, I hardly doubt I saw more than half of the market.

On Friday, couscous is a popular dish, and I had the opportunity to experience the dish homemade. The woman who ran the hostel had cooked it up, and shared her lunch. It was a load of food, and I was encouraged to eat until I could not eat anymore. Instead of each person eating from his/her own plate, the plate was shared by everyone at the table. The entire plate was not finished.

Other travelers in the hostel were much different from the travelers I have met in Europe. Most had traveled some in Europe, but were planning on carrying out extensive travels in Africa. I wish I had more time. I want to travel more in Africa. Even more time in Morocco would have been nice, but there is just so little time left before I must find myself in Lisbon.

1 comment:

Little Red said...

Jealous, that's what I am...

Lemme know when you get home and if you'll be headed my way. It'd be great to see you again!