My apologies for taking forever to update the second part of this post. Been traveling all over Europe (now in US) and don’t always have good wifi connection. It also didn’t help that my laptop died on me. It was very stressful I must say. Luckily, the guys at the Apple store in Grand Central, NY fixed it. Unfortunately, they had to delete all of my existing files, music and pictures (CRRYYY) but it was better than not being able to use my laptop I guess.
Anyho, in less than two months after our Morocco trip, Emma and I have traveled to eight other countries. Morocco almost feels like a lifetime ago now which is sad and scary at the same time. You get so tired from traveling non stop, some memories become a blur. It’s a good thing I took gazillion pictures to remind me why Morocco was (and still is) one of the highlights of my world trip so far.
Entering the Ksar, we met this super talented artist who uses a unique technique in painting wherein he would use a chalk to sketch on the paper first, and then burn the back of the paper to create shadows and shades for effect.
From Ouarzazate, we traveled to our last Morocco destination (Marrakech) and the first thing we checked was the famous Jemaa El Fna Square. Jemaa El Fna is located in one of the famous medinas in Morocco. A medina means Old City or Gated City, because it is typically walled and has gazillion narrow and maze like streets. So when you go to a medina, it’s like being inside a city within a city. It’s like having ‘inception’ but of cities and not dreams. The square becomes more alive as the day goes on and for tourists, especially female tourists, it can be a little bit overwhelming. There are a lot of things going on, Emma described the square at night like ‘Bali on crack.’ There are snake charmers, magicians, acrobats, dancers etc. and at around 6pm food stands are set up and the air is filled with aromatic steam and smoke of Moroccan food.
The following day, I tried the traditional Moroccan hammam for the very first time. I had been warned that it’s not for everybody but I am a fan of massages and I like the idea of a good body scrub, so I went ahead with two other girls from my tour and boy was I in for a big shock. We were ushered to go inside this heated room and we were stripped naked. I’ve been traveling with Emma for a few months now but we haven’t seen each other naked and then suddenly I found myself naked with two other girls I’ve only known for a few days. Call me prude but I’m one of those girls that still go inside the toilet cubicle in the gym’s change room. We were then covered with mud, and were left in this super hot room for like almost an hour inside. I was dying. I am not a big fan of sauna’s, the most I’d stay is like 10 minutes, so it was not relaxing for me at all. One of the girls kept saying to just think that this was how the princesses were bathed in the olden times. The thought kinda helped but only for like 2 minutes and then I was miserable once again. Alas after what felt like a lifetime, the attendants came back and started washing us off, shampooing our hair first and then scrubbing us with this rough knit. I was the last one to get rinsed off so I ended up having the two attendants scrubbing me from different directions and I was like “aw, aw, aw” because they were scrubbing really hard. After the hammam, they gave us back our robes and we were directed to go to the adjacent room for our individual massages. This time we had our own rooms but we were not given disposable undies and I swear they would sometimes tour prospective clients along the corridors and with only the curtains to cover the doors, I still felt exposed. Two hours later, we were done. I kinda felt violated but in fairness, my skin did feel like a baby, lol!
Would I ever do it again? Maybe not. Should you do it? I say yes.
Inside the hammam place
Another must try in Morocco is their spiced coffee, sadly a lot of tourists miss out on this gem because it is quite rare to find on the street. One of the girls from our tour asked our guide where to find one and he led us to this adorable old man just outside the square and behold, for 2 dirhams you will get a short glass of the most amazing coffee. Promise.
To get good panoramic view/shot of the square, buy yourself a nice mint tea in one of the coffee houses nearby, make sure to chose the one that has a terrace though. I went up early morning and the square looked pretty empty.
After my eight day tour, I decided to stay for two more days to explore the medina on my own. I stayed at this beautiful riad which was quite a change from the hotels we’ve been staying and I’m glad I got to experience staying at a more traditional Moroccan place. I highly recommend staying in a riad.
For now, I just have to look back at all these amazing pictures until my next visit.