Ryan’s Logbook from Marrakech, Morocco!

Spontaneous Adventures in Marrakech, Morocco

Camel rides through the desert, dodging cars, mopeds and horse and donkey carriages in the street and shopping non-stop in the Souks was my reality this past weekend.  Read here to learn about my crazy and cool adventure in Marrakech, Morocco.

I’ve always wanted to visit Africa for so many reasons.  Some of these reasons included learning about the history, nature and customs of the continent of my ancestors. I was blessed this past weekend with the opportunity of finally visiting this beautiful continent by way of Marrakech, Morocco.  Marrakech is frequented by many tourists and rightfully so.  It is so charming with its beautiful mosaic architecture, impeccable views and not to mention friendly locals.  Not only did I get to learn some of the past history and current events happening in Marrakech, but I also got taste the delicious Moroccan cuisine and explore the city’s many fruitful gardens.  My favorite part of the trip was when I got the chance to ride a camel!  Read here to learn about my first time riding this animal and more about my other Marrakech experiences.

 

TRAVEL NEWS

Local Time:           11:00 AM

Time Zone:          Western European Time WET (UTC+0)

Location (Latitude, Longitude): 31°37′48″N 8°0′32″W

How far did I travel this week? 2,805 km (1,743 miles)

How far have I traveled on your journey so far? 2,805 km

How did I get around this week?

This week I got around by taxi, bus, airplane, tram, subway metro and even a camel!

What was the most interesting place I visited this week?

This week I visited Marrakech, Morocco.  Marrakech, Morocco is a city in northwest Africa.          

Other travel news: I have been to many countries during my study abroad journey.  I have been to the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Prague during my time studying abroad in Italy. My plane ride to Marrakech this weekend was the longest flight I have experienced thus far on this journey.  It was three hours away from Milan and I definitely felt every hour!  I left my headphones at home by accident so I was forced to listen to all the babies crying on the plane.  There were more babies on this plane than I have ever seen before on previous flights I have taken.  Also, shortly after departing from Milan, our plane had a lot of turbulence! This made me really scared because I have a slight fear of flying.  The woman sitting next to me on the plane however was more afraid than I was and closed her eyes and made facial expressions that she was scared.  Every time the plane would jolt and drop suddenly, many people would gasp, making me even more nervous!  Thankfully though, the turbulence subsided and we had a smooth journey all the way to Marrakech.

NATURE NEWS

Weather Tally:

Sunny:  4

Cloudy:  1

Partly cloudy:  0

Rainy:  2


What is the air temperature right now?
 77 degrees Fahrenheit


How was the weather this week?
 This was a particularly sunny week in Milan. Milan is recovering from a very long and cold winter, so getting mostly sunny days this week was very refreshing.  It also reminded me a lot of my hometown Los Angeles which is a city that is mostly sunny year round.  Being here in Milan has been very different for me because the weather is much colder than what I am used to.  Adjusting to the weather has been a challenge, so getting a break from the cold was a good change.  I enjoyed the weather this weekend and being able to go out without a jacket on felt great!

What animals did I see this week?  This week in Milan I saw many of the same animals that I do typically: dogs, cats and birds.  Dogs and cats here in Milan are typically domesticated and seen on leashes and in sweaters or other cute pet accessories and clothes.  This weekend during my trip to Morocco, I saw animals like monkeys, camels, horses, chickens, goats, snakes, lambs, cats, dogs, birds and fish.


What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week?

The coolest thing I saw in nature this week was a camel.  I have always seen camels at the zoo and on television but never up close.  I was so close to camels this week that I even got to ride one!  This is a popular tourist thing to do in Marrakech, but I didn’t mind being labeled a “tourist” this weekend.

Other Nature News:

Riding the camels was my favorite part of the trip not only because it was a cool experience but also because this was something I saw many of friends do in their pictures from their trips to Marrakech before mine this weekend.

I always wondered if it would be uncomfortable sitting on one and if it’d be scary.  I also didn’t know where I would sit on the camel.  It isn’t as easy to ride as a horse that has a flat back.  I didn’t know where on the camel’s back I would sit since they have humps.  Some camels have two humps so I wasn’t sure if I would sit in the middle of these humps or in front of the humps closer to the camel’s neck.  My curiosity was killed when I was directed to sit on a saddle on the camel’s hump.  The camel I rode was a dromedary which is also known as an Arabian camel.  This type of camel is found mainly in Arab countries like countries in northern Africa and Saudi Arabia but it can also be found in some parts of Australia.  A camel with two humps is called a bactrian camel and is typically found in central Asia, not Marrakech.

After doing some research on the internet, I learned that a camel’s hump is actually stored fat which helps them maintain energy and hydration in dry habitats such as the desert where water and food is scarce.  The camel that I rode had a hump that was covered by the saddle, but I assumed it had a big hump and thus a lot of fat stored because I was sitting really high on top of it.

I was also scared that my camel would spit on me.  Spitting is the way camels express anger or nervousness.  I was sure that I was going to scare the camel or make him angry, but I didn’t, thankfully!

The ride was fun.  My friends and I bravely took a camel ride for 30 minutes through a desert, lead by a Moroccan guide.  The camels were very friendly and even cuddled with my friend Anna.  They were a bit stinky and pooped and peed whenever they wanted.  Because of this, we had to be very careful where we walked around the camels to avoid stepping in their waste.  They ate dry green grasses and plants.

 

OUR NEWS

What languages are spoken here?   Moroccans speak Arabic and French.  Arabic is the original language, but French is spoken since Morocco and France have bilateral relations.  Having bilateral relations means that these two countries mix political, economic and cultural customs.

What type of money is used here?   Moroccans use dirhams.  $1 is about 8 dirhams.  In many shops in Marrakech, I was able to pay with dollars and Euros in conjunction with dirhams.

Caption: 1056 dirhams, or, $123

How much does a bottle of water cost?  A bottle of water in Marrakech costs anywhere from 6-10 dirhams which is about 50 cents-$1.

What was the best meal this week?  The best meal I ate this week was chicken and vegetable couscous.  Couscous is a type of grain typically eaten in Morocco and it is almost like rice but much smaller.  It is also circular shaped and can easily be mixed with meat and vegetable dishes.  It was very filling.  I like to think that I eat a lot more than an average woman my age, so I was surprised that I got full so quickly eating couscous.  Couscous is a great dish for this region because the people here need to eat foods high in energy to keep them active in the dry and hot weather.

Other dishes unique to this region are grilled meats and mixed vegetable salads.

What music did I listen to this week?  This week I listened to the Arabic music played in taxis and in the marketplace.  I enjoyed being able to listen to music of the region because in all the cities I have visited, I only hear American music being played and never the music unique to the region.  I couldn’t understand the lyrics of the music I was listening to because it was in Arabic, but I enjoyed the sound of the instruments and beats.  Many of the Arabic music is played on the violin.

What did I read this week? On my flight headed to Marrakech, there were free magazines provided.  In the magazine were many articles about different travel destinations all around the globe.  One destination in particular was Marrakech, Morocco.  It was exciting to read about some of the treasures of Morocco and even more exciting to actually visit the places I read about.  It gave me a new appreciation for them and my ability to see them.

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