Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Morocco and Semana Santa.. (a little late)

I wrote this a little over a week ago but have been unable to post it but here is a little bit about my trip to Morocco and Semana Santa...

So I am finally back and starting to recover from a long week of traveling and then acting as tour guide for my family! Morocco was really nice although a completely different experience from Spain and of course from home. Although we stayed mainly in the big cities we did get to go to the desert and ride camels to an oasis where we spent the night. The cities we went to were Robot (the capital), Fez, and them some small towns just as stops along the way. We thought we were going to be disappointed since women really don’t go out of their homes past 8 at night but we got into our hotels (very night hotels) every night and just wanted to eat and go to sleep after long days of traveling. Speaking of food, it was probably one of the highlights of the trip. After being in Spain where vegetables ware rare we go to spend a whole week eating endless buffets of mostly vegetables! Some people had a little trouble with the change in diet but luckily I was not one of them.
As far as the cities go, Fez was definitely the most interesting. The main part of the city is filled with narrow winding streets that if you got lost in you would never find your way out. There are shops everywhere and as soon as the word spreads that there is a tourist group you are flocked with people trying to sell you anything from clothes to tiny leather camels (of course I had to buy some). Luckily we had a really good tour guide to keep us from getting lost and get us from shop to shop where we got to see the leather being dyed, carpets being woven, spices, and silk. Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures of these places because they were really interesting. Probably one of the best parts of the whole shopping experience was trying to pay. Something that started out as twenty euros could be talked down to five or less. Unfortunately for some people they didn’t realize this until the end of the day and ended up paying the original price. Haha.
Although Fez was really nice and full of interesting sites and experiences, like almost being run over by a donkey loaded with things in the narrow streets, my favorite part of the trip was definitely riding the camels and the night in the desert. We got in to the desert on jeeps that raced through the desert at night with their lights off!! After spending the night in a really nice hotel in the middle of nowhere we got up in the morning and rode camels for about two hours to an oasis that was even more isolated. We actually got to the oasis campsite kind of area just in time to climb a huge dune and watch the sunset. We then spent the night in tents under more stars than I have ever seen in my life. We also go to hang out with some Berbers and got to talk to them about living in the desert. Most of them spend their whole life working taking tours into the desert and back (walking the whole time we ride the camels).
After a week of adventures and a lot of time on the bus I returned late Wednesday night only to rise early in the morning and meet up with my parents. I got to spend the next few days showing them around the city and after the first few days trying to avoid the processions for Semana Santa.
Semana Santa was basically what I expected with a lot more people than I had ever imagined. There were multiple floats with parades going through the city at all times and each float had hundreds of people walking with it causing backups all around the city and blocking streets everywhere you went. Although it was interesting to get to the see the huge floats made of gold and portraying a scene from the bible or with a virgin on it they kind of get repetitive after a while. One of the most interesting things was seeing the people that walk with the floats that are dressed in costumes that inspired the costumes of the KKK.
That’s all I have time for now but I am going to Barcelona this coming weekend so I will update again next week and let you know how it went!
Jennifer Olney

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