I woke up bright and early at 5:30am to be ready for my tour. This was what I had been waiting for, my camel ride through the African desert!!! I nervously waited in my hostel for the tour guide to pick me up at 7am. The time came and no one was there. I didn’t think they’d leave without me since they’d picked me up from the airport and what not, so I waited a little while longer. Around 7:30 a group of people had gathered in the common room talking about the 2-day, 1-night desert tour and I assumed they were going on the same one I was. I followed the group out to the minibus. When people started paying, I told them I had paid the day before and showed them my receipt. Just my luck, I was with the wrong tour group. I panicked while the nice guides called the correct company and drove me to their office where I hopped on the right bus this time.
I couldn’t tell you how long we drove because I fell asleep, but it was long enough for me to get some significant rest. We abruptly stopped at this café because the road we were supposed to continue on was closed. Our guide explained to us that there was snow blocking our way to the mountains and that no tour group could pass. However, he told us not to worry because people were already working on clearing the snow and we should be on our way in an hour or so. I sat in this cute little café chatting with some friends I met on the bus while we waited for our tour guide to give us the go ahead. Unfortunately, an hour later he informed us that the entire 2-day, 1-night excursion was cancelled. I WAS LIVID. LIKE BEYOND LIVID. THIS TOUR IS WHY I CAME HERE. Utterly disappointed, we all got back on the bus to drive back to Marrakech. It was a long disappointing ride. I had no idea what I was going to do when I got back. Those 2 days were supposed to be spent riding camels and sleeping under the stars. There’s no way I would’ve come here by myself if I wasn’t going on that tour. What made me even angrier was that the company just kept telling us to rebook for tomorrow. Apparently they didn’t understand that some of us have flights to catch. They didn’t even give me all of my money back for the tour. Like I said, LIVID. As if I wasn’t upset enough, they wouldn’t drive me back to the hostel. I had no idea where I was. I furiously marched through the big square on my way back to the hostel and stopped to look around all the shops and street performers. I spied some things that I wanted to buy, so I decided to go drop my backpack off before getting in too deep. What should’ve been a 15 minute walk turned into me struggling for an hour and a half through the maze that is Morocco.
When I had finally arrived in the hostel, I was exhausted, but I pulled myself together and headed back to the square. On my way, I stopped at the sandwich place I ate at last night. At the sandwich stand I ran into Cal, the guy I ate with yesterday. Cal and I ended up heading to the square together. Since I had just spent the past 1.5 hours lost in the Moroccan maze, it was so great to have someone walking with me who knew where he was going. We strolled through the big square and the souks around it. I don’t feel any sense of danger walking around. The people are harmless; all they want is you to visit their shop and buy their stuff. As long as you firmly say no, they won’t bother you again. I absolutely love walking around the big square. It’s full of snake charmers, monkeys on leashes, henna tattoo artists, and vendors. They just walk around free-nilly with those snakes!!! I was mesmerized. If you stare and watch too long, they assume you want to take your picture with one and don’t hesitate to wrap a snake right around your shoulder. Horrifying. As Cal and I were making our way through the square a man threw his monkey on my arm. I was taken back a bit because I knew he’d beg for money afterwards. Cal sniped a pic and like I anticipated, the man demanded money. Cal was pretty strong headed and merely shook the man off and walked away, no harm done. We walked around some more before Cal had to leave to meet up with some friends. I decided to hang in the square and do more shopping; after all, my plans had been cancelled. When I got here I really wanted to get real henna, not the silly ones you get on vacation in Florida. So I found a lady in the square and sat down at her little booth. She started drawing the intricate flowers and designs on my hand. She even asked my name so that she could write it in Arabic. I was a little nervous that she was actually writing something other than my name like the classic Chinese tattoos. As it turns out she actually did write my name! How do I know? Because after that nearly every vendor was trying to get my attention yelling, “Molly! Qué guapa!” Fun fact: everyone here thinks I’m Spanish. Strangely, American is their last guess. Vendors were shouting “Hola” all afternoon. I kind of take it as a compliment. I think it may have something to do with the way I’ve taken to saying “no”. Speaking Spanish has become second nature to me. It’s the first thing that comes out of my mouth and I love it. With Cal’s directions, I began the short trek back to the hostel, goods in hand.
At the hostel, the common room is the place to be. Everyone is just hanging out chatting, smoking hookah, and drinking wine. It’s the chillest environment. While I was just sitting on one of the couches, a guy who just arrived was talking about how he was starving and wanted to go get food but was too nervous to go out on his own. So I offered to walk to the square with him and grab a bite to eat. We were chatting up a storm and he was so shocked when I told him I just got here yesterday. His words were, “And you’re ok with walking around already?!” It was obvious that he just got here; still stuck on the rumors of danger in Marrakech. It felt amazingly awesome to actually know where I was going and how to navigate the markets. Someone was following ME. That rarely happens. He was a pretty cool guy. The people you meet in hostels are always so interesting and have the best stories.
It’s getting time to call it a night and pray that my tour tomorrow doesn’t get cancelled.
What a day.