I am updating my blog from Ghana because I could not get to an internet café in Morocco. Sorry for the delay!!
If I were to describe Morocco in one word it would be chaotic. Everywhere we went there were a million people trying to get you to buy something or go somewhere. It was insane! We did SO much in the few days that we were there so I will try to make this as short as possible. Let me start from day one…
We get into port at about 7am. Ash and I were planning on waking up at 5am to see the sunrise and land for the first time in a week but we decided against it once our alarm clock rang. We woke up at 630 to see us pull into port. After that we got ready for the day and were planning on going to the city of Rabat. So me, Ashley and our friends Tommy, Brooks and Jackie caught a cab and didn't make it very far. We were stopped at the port entry because we needed our passports to enter. The ship was told that unless we were staying overnight somewhere we didn't need our passport but they changed the rules that very morning. Luckily our ship was able to make a deal and they were allowing us to enter without a passport if we were staying in Casablanca all day. We decided to do that and tour around there.
The cab driver we had was awesome. He offered us a deal and said he would show us around Casablanca for 20 U.S dollars for 3 hours. We agreed since we only had one plan and that was to visit the Hassan II Mosque. He took us there and we took about a half hour tour inside the Mosque. It was amazing! The artwork was beautiful and every detail from the floors to the walls and ceiling was incredible. After that he drove us around for a bit. He took us to this cathedral type thing that they called Notre Dam. It wasn't anything compared to the Mosque but we got to walk around for 2 US dollars and the view from the top was spectacular. We could see all of Casablanca!
After that he took us to an authentic Moroccan restaurant for lunch. We sat on couches with colorful pillows everywhere. I ordered chicken and cous cous (I had it about 4 more times on the trip). It was delicious! More people came in while we were there and one of them has a son who lives in Minneapolis. And this was his favorite restaurant in all of Morocco. We went to a market after and bought a few things. After having seen most of Casablanca we were ready to go back to the ship and take a nap.
We got back and freshened up, had some dinner then went out to experience the nightlife. We were out for a few hours then headed back to the ship to get some sleep.
Today was the day we started our camel trek to the Sahara desert. We got picked up at 5am for what we thought would be a 3 hour bus ride. Little did we know it would turn into 14 hours. We stopped a few times along the way for food and the bathroom. We drove through the entire Atlas Mountains to reach our destination, which was only 90 kilometers from Algeria. Everyone was very tired and nervous because we were now going to be riding our camels in the pitch black in the middle of nowhere. We rode the camels to the campsite. This place was a lot nicer then most of us were expecting. They had dinner for us and greeted us with mint tea, which is very popular in Morocco. We had a campfire and some of us decided to go hike up the sand dune and sit up there for a bit. Once we reached the top it was one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. I have never seen so many stars in my life before. We all took our shoes off and felt the softest sand we have ever touched. This day turned out to be well worth the long bus ride. After all, we were camping in the middle of the Sahara desert. Not many people can say that they have done that.
I kept gazing out into the distance trying to soak it all in. It was only day two at our first port and I have already experienced SO much. After sitting on top of the dunes for 2 hours we decided to call it a night. Me, Ashley, Jackie, Tommy, Brooks and our other friend Andrew stayed in a tent together and we got our own beds to sleep on. Which was very nice! We woke up at 5:45am to see the sunrise and have some breakfast. We took pictures and rode the camels back to our buses to head back to Marrakech where it drops us off.
After being dropped off in Marrakech we checked into our hotel. Which was a 5 star hotel and we got it for 23 US dollars because it was off-season. Talk about a good deal! This place was insanely beautiful. Ashley Jackie and I shared a room then we all went to the pool for a dip. We had not been able to shower after riding the camels so we were so thankful to jump in that cold pool. We got ready for dinner and met up with some other Semester at sea students. We went to Old Medina for dinner, which is a very large market place that has restaurants everywhere. It was so cool to see. We went to dinner and I had to get money out so Jackie, Brooks, RC and I went to an atm. RC had been in Marrakech all day and wanted to show us a few places around the market before we went back up to dinner. We tried the most amazing fresh squeezed orange juice I have ever tasted then we went and tried some meat skewers, which were also very delicious. After dinner we enjoyed a night out on the town. We got 10 hours of sleep the entire time we were in Morocco. We woke up the next morning to catch a train back to Casablanca and that was the end of our time in Morocco.
The whole experience was mind-boggling. I wish I could go into more detail about every single thing I did and saw but then these blog entries would be WAY too long…as if this one isn't long enough! We were in Morocco for 4 days and 3 nights. In that period of time we saw all of Casablanca, drove across the entire country and back, drove through the Atlas mountains, camped in the Sahara, rode camels, experience Marrakech and got to have the best time of our lives with our new friends. It was an incredible journey and it is only going to get better from here.
Andria Skanse Sounds SO fun! I'm incredibly jealous. Keep having fun and update as much as you can!
Kris Alexander The Alexander's miss you! It was fun reading your blog. Be safe & have a blast!! It sounds like your already are:)
Carol Skanse It sounds so much fun and you are learning so much about the world. Have fun and be careful. Love, Nana and Papa
Allison Skanse So glad you are having the time of your life. Your pictures are great. Never thought I'd see you and a camel!!!!! Take care. Love,Aunt Allison
Larry Bonasera We are happy everything is going well and you are enjoying it. We miss you and love you very much. Grandpa & Grandma