Morocco

I’m starting with one of my more recent travels, which easily jumps to the front of my mind for one of the best travel experiences I’ve had ever.  I’ve heard mixed reviews about Morocco. Some people say it didn’t live up to their expectations, while others gushed about how it’s in their top 3 best vacays. So I wanted to form my own opinion, and to Morocco we went! My travel companion, Keysi, and I went on a week-long adventure in this North African country, a short plane ride from Toulouse and London. While I can easily post 50 amazing photos and 20 travel experiences, here’s my top ten:

10) Tender lamb tagine with Figs in Fez – Of all the tagine’s we’ve had, this ought to be the tastiest. I soooo longed to pair the dish with some asian jasmine rice. Would have been the perfect meal.

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9) Feeding the monkeys – I think we were headed towards mid-Atlas when we went through this monkey feeding ground. We just stopped by the road, and spent a good 15 minutes giving palmiers to monkeys.  It was fun and we had a good laugh. The moneys looked like people! Kinda makes Darwin’s theory of evolution even more convincing.

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8) Beautiful Drives – Nothing short of amazing. One minute we’re marvelling at the the beautiful mountain ridges and just an hour later, we were midlands and looking over the Hollywood of Africa. Keyce pointed out the clouds and the amazing colour of the sky. The rhythmic, gentle vibration of the 4×4 for hours, lulled me to sleep. Loved these scenic drives. It showcased the diversity of Mama Africa.

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7) Shopping, and the haggling experience – our changing ethnicities – Keysi and I enjoyed this immensely. I recall this conversation we had with a family from Australia. Told them we spent about 20 minutes haggling with a Maroc vendor for a nice brown leather bag. We said we were from China, and he believed us and gave us a great deal! Bargaining is a dance, really. And these Marocs, they’re aggressive, some would argue, borderline offensive.  Yes, tourists need to have a sense of humour, and a loooot of patience to get through the souk unscathed.

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6) Moroccan Design – While we made our way through the nooks and crannies of the souks, i would stare longingly at the carpets, plates, lamps, and other decorative items I wanted to take home with me. Only… I actually don’t have my own place just yet, and shipping them to the Philippines isn’t exactly an option.  It’s interesting how, if take separately, they all seemed like nice, individual pieces. But putting them together made everything much more beautiful.

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5) Morocco Travel Guides – Our friends Ibrahim, who christened us with Berber names (I was Saida, happiness, and Keysi was Aisha, which stood for alive(?). Ibrahim and Ali were great guides. We had great laughs, and they made us feel we were protected.

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4) Staying in a Riad – In 7 days, we ended up staying at about 3 riads. All of which were lovely. I love how each riad was a pleasant surprise. After fighting your way through loud spice vendors, goats, and overzealous men who say ‘konichiwa’ and every asian greeting they know, then finally finding the standard wooden door, stepping inside the riyad takes you to a different place. It was serene and beautiful. Sometimes grand! I love love the open courtyard. And the hospitality of the hosts.  I want my future house to look like a riad!

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3) Best Moroccan meal ever – In the middle of nowhere, our guides brought us to this nondescript restaurant which served us our best meal of the trip. Authentic. Delicious. And just packed with complex flavours. We couldn’t stop saying, ‘Oh my God.’ in between mouthfuls of fantastic food. They even entertained us, post meal, with their traditional instruments.

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2) Jemaa El Fna, Marrakech – Despite my annoying stalker, this is the place to be in Marrakech. Snake charmers in the afternoon, freshly squeezed orange juice towards the evening, and overly excited vendors selling heavenly Moroccan home pieces at night.

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  1. Merzouga Desert Camel Ride – The view is just spectacular. I gush about this part of the trip the most. The colours rolling dunes, which was just calm and relaxingly silent. Camels deserve all the fuss. They are tall and charming! They look deceivingly lazy. We just hung on to dear life every time we were walking on uneven dunes.

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When I went: October 2012

Cities I visited: Marrakech, Fez

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