No different from any other weekend, I woke up bright and early praying that this day excursion would make up for my cancelled 2-day adventure. We hopped on the minibus and drove for a while until we reached a Berber village. The Berber house that we got to tour was eye opening: dirt floors, no doors, and stone-age appliances. Our group followed chickens and children through the maze of rooms to the kitchen where the women were making tea. They showed us to a lounge room where we sat and sipped the traditional Berber mint tea and munched on bread dipped in honey, olive oil, and butter. When we were leaving, the Berber children followed us out of the house begging for dirhams ($$$). The guy in front of me had a hard time resisting their cuteness and eventually gave in. The second he pulled out a coin the kids seized the opportunity and dove for it. The fought each other, tackling the other kids to get the coin. It was mayhem. Someone else had given them a bag of chips and they freaked out, fighting over that too. While the guy was peeling kids off of him, one of them managed to stick her hand in his pocket and take some money. Our tour guide literally had to hold the kids back while we jumped back into the van on our way to the Berber garden.
The Moroccans who work at the garden told us about all of the oils, creams, and medicines that come from the plants they grow. And of course, at the end of the tour they offered us to purchase saffron, Moroccan oil, and other varieties of spices, creams, and medicines.
From the garden, we jumped back into the minibus for lunch. We pulled into this cute little restaurant and ate on the rooftop terrace. I enjoyed a traditional tangier berber. I was a little nervous as to what I had ordered, but turns out it was just chicken and vegetables in some kind of spice. Crisis averted.
Now that our stomachs were full, it was time to walk off lunch. We began out hike up the Atlas Mountains to see the waterfalls. It felt a little strange. The mountains were snow-capped and looked just like the Swiss Alps. It was nothing like the picture of Morocco I had in my head. Our tour guide took us on this crazy off-beaten path. We essentially rock climbed for an hour. Hiking through the Atlas Mountains wore me out and I slept almost the whole drive back to Marrakesh. I never would’ve thought I’d have an easier time hiking in the Swiss Alps over the mountains in Africa. To me it didn’t feel like Africa. My image was so different and I was looking forward to riding a camel through the flat, somewhat warm, Sahara desert. My expectations definitely put a damper on things, but I think I had the best substitute for my cancelled tour.
When we returned, it seemed a little early to call it a night, so I went back to the square to see the nightlife. I walked around for a while, enjoying my last night in Morocco. I’d have to say it was one of my favorite trips merely because it was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. The culture was so new to me as well as the environment. I had never been so uncomfortable and so ok with it in my life. I took quite a leap out of my comfort zone. It was also one of my hardest goodbyes yet. Maybe because it was my last RyanAir flight. Whatever the reason, I almost cried when I had to leave. Going to Morocco was such a big deal for me. I knew that I wanted to do it and I made it happen. 3 months ago I don’t think I would’ve ever had the guts to do what I did that weekend. It was a life changing experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
My flight landed in Madrid at 3pm. Just enough time to make it to my Latin Rhythms rehearsal at 4:30pm. After 2 hours of practice, it was time to go home and catch up on all of my homework from that weekend.
Tuesday came and we had the big general rehearsal with everyone for our performance that night. I was in the theater from 2-10:30pm. It was a long, exciting, fun, nerve-filled day.
I’ll blog about the performance after I finally catch up with London. Busy busy busy.
What a weekend.