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mountnrebl Morocco City - A travel report by Jared
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Morocco City,  Morocco - flag Morocco -  Marrakech
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mountnrebl's travel reports

This is a cool story about Marakesh in Morocco

  8 votes
This is a story I wrote for an English class about going from Seville to Marakesh. Any specific questions like where to stay or where to find a boat or something e-mail me. For the most part I recomend lonley planets guide.

The soft spheres of a lantern light illuminated the plaza, looking like small stars touching the dark city. The beating of drums raced against what could have almost been the sound of a guitar. Kerosene and spices hung in the air and blended, not unpleasantly, with the dust and exhaust. My attention snapped back to my little circle that was set a little off from the others. A strange man was setting one of two large hissing black snakes around my neck. On the ground a cobra sways as the charmers move around us, eyeing our bags like gold. My fellow traveler sits as frozen as the cobra at his feet, his eyes just as unblinking, and filled infinitely with fear. One of the snakes around me moves, brushing me with soft scales. At the would be robbers bidding, I unwarily kiss the snake. My pulse beats with the drums. I’m alive in a place that before had only existed in stories. My story begins at four a.m. I’m saying goodbye to my mother, and going to see the world. Armed with a guidebook and a backpack, I left the States on September 16th alone, without being able to speak a foreign language, and with no idea of what to expect. I landed in Paris, the most beautiful city in the world. Over the next three months I would travel all over Western Europe, visiting France, Germany, and Italy. I found it fairly easy to fit in and be comfortable. It was definitely all different culturally, but it lacked a certain sense of adventure, or of danger. Even less developed countries like the Czech Republic lacked a certain feel. I needed something truly different. I found it while waiting in Spain. I was in Seville, pronounced Sa-V-A, for three days too long and I had a need to move. I had traveled with a Canadian named Justin on and off. I had met back up with him in Barcelona and we had traveled down through Spain. We had been waiting for five days for his girlfriend to meet up with us, and after two months of never stopping, that is an eternity. I had lots of time to read my guidebook, and I found that it was fairly easy to go across the Straight of Gibraltar to Africa. By the time she arrived I decided that I wanted to go to Morocco. The majority of the time you’d get advice from other travelers on where to go and what to do. No one we could find had been there, and all we got were cryptic third hand warnings. That made it even more exciting to me and the next morning we were on the bus to the Algeciers, our port to Africa. After the usual process through customs, and more waiting, we were on the ferry crossing the strait of Gibraltar. Even though it was late in the year, it was still sunny out on the deck. We sat watching the gold tipped waves and smoking tax-free Lucky Strikes. With Europe on one side and Africa on the other, I was having a sense of excitement that I hadn’t felt since the beginning of my trip. I felt almost like a corsair exploring the world. The sense of restlessness lifted off of me. The ocean cradled me to sleep, and my travel weary body relaxed into the white, cracked plastic benches. Docking was like landing on a different planet. I had already been to a dozen countries, but didn’t receive any culture shock until now. The port, the landscape, the people were all different. Yet another blow to my comfort level was when I found out it was Ramadan, and all Muslims would not be eating from sunrise to sunset. We had no idea if food would be available. The up side was that also meant the night would be twice as exciting, because all the eating and the festival-like atmosphere was when the fast breaks. The only advice we had on this strange country was on the port city, Tangier. The advice for visiting that city was don’t, you would just be asking to get robbed or worse. We went to the train station, and bought a ticket on the night train to Marrakech. While we were waiting for our train the sun set over the port city. It was a soft red sunset bathing both the historic mosques and industrial towers in the same pink hue. Two Moroccans who had been watching us came over as the last echoes of the prayers from the mosque speakers marked the sunset and the breaking of the fast. The two men asked us if we would like some homemade deep red soup. These people hadn’t eaten all day and yet they still gave to strangers before themselves. It was a spicy soup that is a staple in their country. Not wanting to eat all of their meal we left for a restaurant a few blocks away. Our waiter was very friendly and spoke very little English. He talked to us about music and travel. Then he stopped, got very serious, and apologized for 9-11. He said he had nothing to do with it and that wasn’t the way of the Muslim faith. I was speechless and deeply moved by his caring and tolerance. I got on to the train feeling gratitude and deep respect for the good people of this city. I’m always excited for the night trains. You go to sleep in a semi-comfortable bed, and wake up in a different city. It’s accomplishing so much just while you sleep. Upon waking and finding lodging (a mere four dollars) we went to explore the city. Marrakech is one of five royal cities. The royal cities all have huge markets filled with carpets, jewelry, swords, and anything else you can imagine. Everyone is harassing you to buy anything. We ended up in The Shop of 10,000 Spices. The walls were lined with rows of strange smelling jars. We were given free samples of Moroccan Viagra, and shown all types of exotic things. I bought a stone that burns and shoots off sparks. We went back out into the main plaza to a roof top restaurant, where we ate some amazingly good and cheap food while watching the great market bustle. After a day of shopping and eating, we hired a car to drive us out into the desert to see some waterfalls for the next day. The driving is always an adventure in Morocco. There are busses, trucks, motorcycles, and donkey pulled carts all trying to go as fast as they can in any direction. Traffic laws and enforcement are nonexistent. The roads are so bad it’s a wonder they don’t pray more than five times a day. We finally make it to the small village above the falls. When we arrive at the waterfalls, I expect to be disappointed. This time that would be impossible. You get out of the Jeep and walk through a small village. Then you walk under a ceiling of olive branches to where the top of the falls opens up before you. It’s a basin whose three walls are a solid white torrent. The beauty of it against the harsh brown sand that we drove through for hours awed me. I held my breath and knew it was a sight seen by few. The three of us traveled down the switch back paths to the bottom of the falls stopping at the fossils of ancient olive trees. We continued to the bottom, and the falls were even more magnificent from below. The cliffs were so high, it looked as if the falls started in the sky. The water collected and flowed down a canyon. The trail ran down caves, sandy cliffs, and waterfall after waterfall. The turbulent river ended in a giant sinkhole. After a day of swimming and cliff diving, we regretfully left with one last look at the falls. We drove home just in time for one last visit to the market. I had wanted to see snake charmers, and had a few hours before the train left. As with everything in Morocco, there’s someone offering you whatever you want, along with a dozen things you don’t. If they don’t have them they know someone who does. In short order we were able to find the snakes. I expected an old guru carefully charming a snake with a flute. Instead of a guru, I found it was a group of guys who seemed more afraid of the snakes than my buddy Justin was. He is terrified of them, and was set down not more than two feet from the cobra. I was seated next to the rattlesnake who was sleeping docilely. The untrained charmers pulled the snakes out of bags and draped them around us like Mardi Gras beads. Since you are fairly distracted by the poisonous snakes, they take the opportunity to try to steal from your bags. So you sit holding your bags tightly trying not to move for fear of the snakes, while smiling bravely for the camera. We escaped without being killed or having anything stolen. All in all I was overwhelmed, afraid of and in love with Morocco all at the same time. We spent our last drahmas on the taxi ride and Coke in bottles with beautiful Arabic writings. The market faded in a blur of lights. The night train rumbled off for the next journey, and the city disappeared into the Arabian night. I dreamt of places that exist in more than just stories as I fell asleep to the peaceful sway.

Favourite spots:
Lots of favorite spots. The waters falls are deffently the coolest.

What's really great:
I liked it all. It was all really really cool.

Wide veiw of falls
Wide veiw of falls
The waterfall. The found us. That sort of thing happens in Marakesh.

I stayed out the hostel abdull or something. Its 2 blocks south of the train station. walk out the front doors of the station and walk straight and say hostel and people will get you there. Its in the guidebook. Only 4 euros or so. Town is almost as cheap.

Published on Tuesday May 25th, 2004

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Sat, Nov 05 2005 - 09:47 PM rating by isaacmolina

This is a wonderful report!!!
No need to add pictures. The read is more than enough.
Thanks, you are brave. Keep on travelling as an adventurer

Mon, Jun 14 2004 - 06:46 AM rating by willow

Good on ya mate :-)

Wed, May 26 2004 - 05:59 AM rating by marianne

This makes great reading. You captured the atmosphere. Do you write a lot? You give yor private e-mail address, I would not do that if I were you. Anyone can now send you (spam) mails. It might be better if you take it away. People who are interested can contact you any way by clicking on the 'contact'button or by writing in your guestbook.

If you have time it maight be a good idea to give a bit more information about e.g. other sights and your favourite spots. If people have to e-mail you for more information, only they and not the whole community will profit from your insight knowledge.

Where else did you travel in Morocco? I found it a fascinating country.

I hope you will post more journals because you write in an interesting way and I would like to read more.

Tue, May 25 2004 - 08:02 PM rating by whereisliz

This was an absolutely charming story, but please please please go back in to "edit" mode, and put some paragraph returns in it!

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