Insha' Allah

Trip Start Aug 05, 2006
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Trip End Aug 19, 2007


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Flag of Morocco  ,
Saturday, October 28, 2006

God willing, I shall make it out of Marrakech before having to visit another carpet shop. My latest travels have taken me to Morocco, my first stop on the African continent. After leaving Porto I took the train south and eventually the ferry to the port city of Tangier. Then I boarded another train for the city of Marrakech. After spending over a month in peaceful and tranquil Europe, Morocco at first took me by surprise.

Upon entering Africa it is necessary to develop a thicker layer of skin to deal with the chaos and confusion of this strange and interesting place. My first day in Marrakech I was constantly bombarded with offers for tours, accommodation, or to buy souvenirs. The secret is to be polite but firm and to simply ignore them if they become too persistent, although this is easier said than done. That said, Marrakech is very interesting place filled with Mosques, markets, and snake charmers. Hotels and food here are much cheaper than in Europe. The main square, Djemaa El-Fna is surrounded by souqs, markets, that you can get lost in for hours.

After enduring the chaos of Marrakech for a few days I decided to head for the Atlas mountains for a little trekking. When I got off the bus in Asni, a village about an hours drive away, I was greeted by a man named Abdul who offered to be my guide around the area for a few days. Although I paid way to much for his services and he kept bringing over his so-called brothers to try and sell me crap I had an alright time. I did commit a violation of the law though by SAM, Supplying Alcohol to Muslims. During and for three days after Ramadan it is Muslims are forbidden from buying alcohol. This law is strictly enforced and there are guards at the liquor section of the supermarket who ask for your passport and write down the info on it before you can enter. Abdul and his friends gave me some money and asked me to go inside and buy them some whiskey. It was a little funny buying booze for people ten years older than me. Now it is actually raining here in Marrakech which is in the desert and in summer can reach up to 120F. Welcome to Africa!
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