I met up with one of my favorite humans/dancers/photographers, Renee, in Marrakech, Morocco this November (the day before Thanksgiving) to kick off our two and a half week #mospo (Morocco, Spain, Portugal) trip! Where to begin with Morocco…ummmm…there are just so many mixed emotions.
It was incredible to be in a place that is SO alien to what I’m used to. I loved the culture shock of arriving in north western Africa- the clothes, food, religion- everything was so different and so amazing to take in. The Moroccan architecture and artwork was exactly what I imagined and more. There was SO much color- deep blues, bright pinks, and nearly every home and building was a deep red/orange.
Haggling with shop owners put me out of my comfort zone and I laughed out loud at Renee’s insanely impressive skills at bringing the prices down to at least a quarter to an eighth of the price they told us. Just a side note- when shopping in Morocco, cut the price down 50-75% before you buy whatever you’re haggling for!
Our hostel was filled with tons of friendly Americans, Austrailians, Germans, and more. On Thanksgiving morning, Renee and I were a bit sad thinking about all the turkey and mashed potatoes we’d be missing- so while sitting around the tables in the common breakfast room downstairs, we said what we were thankful for with 10 other strangers from at least 4 different countries. It was my favorite part of Morocco.
Two words- food poisoning. DO NOT ever EVER ever drink, brush your teeth, get NEAR the water in Morocco. I mistakenly and naively ate a salad (which is washed in tap water) and got the worst case of food poisoning I’ve ever had in my life. From 11pm through 10am, I was throwing up outside in the rain (because our hostel had no roof…) every half hour. The rest of my time in Morocco was spent eating one single chocolate bar over 4 days and several bottles of sprite and drinking about 10 liters of water. Renee joked that she woke up one morning and saw me spooning with a two liter bottle of water.
The rain- if you were under the impression that it’s hot and dry in the Sahara Desert in Africa, you’re probably right. But if you assumed that it never rains and is never cold (like me), then you’re totally wrong and should never visit Morocco in late November. Luckily for Renee and I, it only really rained hard when I was violently ill and recovering from the food poisoning. The main issue was that we weren’t allowed to go into the Sahara Desert for an overnight excursion like we’d hoped, as people were getting stuck for days because of flooding and broken bridges.
The “attitude”- Forewarning if you are visiting Morocco- it is BEAUTIFUL and incredible and there is no where like it- but you will QUICKLY get annoyed with the persistent badgering from shop owners, snake tamers, and henna “artists” literally grabbing you from the streets. During our first few hours in La Medina (the city center of Marrakech), a woman grabbed my hand, put henna all over it while talking to me, and then took the equivalent to 20 euros out of my wallet.
Morocco is amazing. I’m SO glad I went and so thankful to have met a handful of amazing people (including our friendly hostel management). Would I go back again? Probably not. But would I recommend others to go? YES! There is so much to this awesome country, you just need to keep your mind open and stay away from the water.