Oct 8, 2009


The rough start to our Morocco trip (arrived at airport only to find our 2:30 a.m. flight to Casablanca was canceled, had to wait 24 hours till the next flight out) by no means reflected the rest of our trip. Morocco did not disappoint! The colors, the architecture, the crafts, the beach! It was all so amazing.


The first thing that immediately stood out to me arriving in Marrakech, was the architecture. The buildings are all relatively the same, reminding me of identical houses all lined up in American suburbs, but here the shapes and earth-tone colors are so beautiful. In both places where we stayed the 3-4 story riads were square shaped, the center area completely open without a roof and a garden area on the bottom floor. Both were located right in the Medinas.
In Burkina people wear bright colors. In Morocco, they sell them, the different hues reflected in the vendors’ stalls. Piles of red, yellow and green spices lined up on old barrels, multicolored lamps shining brightly, beautiful silk and stripped cotton scarves hanging down from the ceiling, and jewelry of all the colors you could imagine hung along the doors. Imagine all this showcased in long, narrow, alley-like streets, inundating you with all the colors of the rainbow. Quite a sight to see.

A stall in the souks; The Majorelle Gardens

In Marrakech mom and I visited many touristic sites including Ben Youssef Madrassa, the Majorelle Gardens and Djemaa El-Fna. It was fun but there were way too many nassarras for me! Because the city is so touristy, everything revolves around money. Compared to Burkina I found the locals unfriendly, rude, and not very accommodating. There were so many beautiful things/people I wanted to take pictures of but if anyone was in it, they would seem annoyed and would always demand money for it. The people and vendors were like vultures, grabbing your arms to bring you to their shops, literally standing in front of you and blocking your path so you wouldn’t leave. At a couple places the vendors were so rude, not even saying ‘thank you’ or ‘have a good day’ after we made a purchase. It reminded me how nice it is to be surrounded by friendly people in Burkina.

hiking to the waterfalls....or not!
One day we went into the mountains to see the waterfalls. I stubbornly refused a guide and ended up going the wrong day, hiking straight uphill for 1 1/2hrs before admitting I didn’t think we were headed in the right direction. The view from our little detour however was so beautiful that mom and I actually were happy to get lost.
Our days in Marrakech consisted of going out in the medina for some browsing and touring, always coming back to lounge around on our favorite roof top terrace sipping tea before going out to eat dinner. Could life get any better? Apparently, it could…

Doors in Morocco are so beautiful, whether it's a school, mosque or home!


Essaouira was, to put it simply, AMAZING. It is a much smaller fishing town right along the Atlantic Ocean. The OCEAN! I didn’t realize how much I have missed it until I saw it again. The first few days we were in Essaouira it was very foggy along the beach, yet the weather was still nice and warm. My mom and I kept saying how much it reminded us of Santa Cruz.
Essaouira was so much more relaxing and peaceful because it is not nearly as touristy as Marrakech. The people are friendlier and less aggressive with their hassling. The prices are cheaper too. Our days consisted of browsing, shopping, reading on the beach and eating out: such tough days!
Food in Morocco was honestly a bit disappointing. It wasn’t bad, but I thought it’d be better, more flavorful. I loved the meat with dried fruit tajine dishes and hope my non-culinary self will try it out when I get back home in the states. Every meal or drink we were served came with olives, which I happily gorged myself on the entire trip, at least 3 times a day. I hate olives, so that shows you how delicious they were in Morocco!

camel and horse along the foggy beach; Mom enjoying the water
On our last full day the owner of the riad where we stayed took us out on his boat! We took a short 1 hour ride around the coast and it was absolutely beautiful. It was wonderful to see Essaouira from a different view.
Now it’s back to Burkina but even after the luxurious of Morocco, Im happy to get back to village. I missed it, and I have a lot of work and activities to plan. Mom has left to return to Cali and once again I have to say how amazing she is and how wonderful it was to have her here. I am very lucky and grateful. Especially grateful, because I will be seeing more family shortly: my dad and step mom! They announced they have bought their tickets and will be arriving in December. This year, I’ll be celebrating Christmas with family!

P.S My mom is going to kill me for announcing this embarrassing (for her) news but it must be said: I beat my mom at scrabble for the first time ever…in French! A memorable milestone for me, but a shameful night for my mother that she'd love to forget!