Thursday, September 30, 2010

9/30/10 MORE SEA LIFE......

We left Ghana on the 25th and have been at sea for 5 days. I though I would write a blog about the ship life. The weather has been very gloomy the past few days. I am hoping the sun will come out tomorrow. When I walk outside all I see is dark blue, the ocean is dark blue and looks freezing cold, the sky is dark blue and looks like it is going to storm. The wind is blowing and raises goose bumps on my arms. I want to sit next to a warm fire with cozy sweatpants on and a huge thick warm sweatshirt with hot chocolate in a mug and one of my favorite movies playing. I wonder why is it so cold outside when we are extremely close to the equator. I heard there were whales today, but I did not get to seem them.
        I am getting a bit homesick and am getting tired of doing the same thing everyday. Emma and I have decided to have dinner up on the pool deck tonight. We are getting tired of going through the buffet line that never changes. First it is lettuce, then carrots, huge chunks of tomatoes, and then comes the mystery dressing. There is never just the simple ranch at the end of the salad bar, it always has to be very strange. The next part of the buffet line is the cheese. The cheese can vary it is either yellow or white cubed cheese. On the other days it is a different type of cheese cut into a pie shape slice. The bread rolls come next, they are in a huge plastic bowl. The only choice is wheat or white. It just depends on what the chef decides to serve. When you finally make it past the rolls the pasta is there! It is always so surprising to see pasta. NOT! We have pasta every meal without fail. This simple dish can never be simple. It is never just plain pasta. It always has tons of different of assortment of sauces on it and other random things thrown in it. After the pasta comes the next dish and it is normally another carb dish, rice. This rice can be fried rice, steamed rice, rice with onions, rice with garlic, and many of other things. Next comes the vegetables. Who would have guessed that even the vegetables can be bad. About every three days the vegetables are great. But, by the second and third day the vegetables are beginning to get really soggy and taste old. By the third day the vegetables are not just broccoli and cauliflower, it now contains all the other vegetables that were leftover from the previous meals. At this point my fingers are just crossed that the next dish will have some sort of chicken! But 85% of the time chicken is not an option. There is always fish and some sort of meat dish, however, it never looks normal. When there is chicken I am so excited!!!!! It makes my day. Sometimes I am so happy I want to ask if they could save this chicken for me. When there is not chicken I head back to the back of the dinning hall. This is where the big bowls of peanut butter and jelly are. Next to that are loaves of wheat bread and white bread. I grab the utensil and grab two pieces of wheat bread and head to the toaster. I toast the bread and then make my way back to the jelly. I take a scoop of jelly and spread it on my hot toasted bread and smoosh my two pieces of bread together. Then I stop at the fruit section to see what fruit there is. I love when there are oranges or red grapes. These are not normal red grapes because nothing is normal on the ship. They are red grapes with seeds in them but I am still very happy!!!!! We make our way to a table. The second I sit down one of the servers are right there to ask what we would like to drink. He asks Emma and she normally says ice tea. Then he turns to me and asks me. I always reply I am good with water, I have my water bottle. Funny how we are 45 days into this and they still ask me 3 times a day what I would like to drink. These guys are wonderful. They clean off the tables the second you are done eating. We are never sitting at a table with piles of dirty plates from the delicious meal we just had.
        I do not want to sound like I am complaining but I would be so happy if they would tone down the dishes and serve plain pasta, and plain grilled chicken, and fresh plain vegetables. I really wish I could be the SAS food planner. I feel there should be certain buffet lines that cater to the different eating styles. Low carb, low fat, no dairy, vegetarian, and so on.
        Then their is the campus store! I love the campus store! It is my mall fix! Whenever I get board or feel the need to go shopping I go in there. There is a little bit of everything in this store. There are Pjs, shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, coffee mugs, water bottles, stickers, paper, pencils, toiletries, medicine, postcards, and anything else you may run out of. Even though EVERYTHING says semester at sea, it is still fun to go shopping!!!!!!! I think I might go in these two stores at least twice a day and look around. They are always getting new things and it is so hard not to buy the new things that come out.
        Emma and I think we are the only people that have done all of our laundry by hand. We know that the only reason this is possible is because my dad made me a magnetic clothes line! If it was not for this magnet clothes line, this would not have been possible. The clothes line the SAS gives us only fits one shirt or one pair of jeans at a time. Laundry is 6 dollars a bag. So we have been saving a lot of money by doing it by hand. I am also excited to say that I have done all my laundry by hand for four months! Yes, Emma and I have to squat underneath the clothes line every time we want to come or leave the room but we have decided that is what makes our room homey!!! Our room does not look like anybody else. With my own bed sheets and comforter, our entire walls full of pictures, and our home made magnetic clothes line. our room has a lot o warmth.
        Every hallway has a name. I am the Baltic Sea and my color is orange. Some of the other seas are Red Sea, Yellow Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. In about a month we will have the Sea Olympics. This is where seas compete against other seas. Rumors say that if your sea wins then you get to get off the ship in San Diego first! I hope my sea wins! I am normally not a competitive person but I will definitely be on this day. I know when I am in San Diego, I am going to want to be the first one off!!!!!! It will be horrible sitting there for hours waiting to get off the ship and wanting to see my family. 

So, now based on the content of this blog, you know I am going stir crazy and am so ready to e in South Africa!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Rumors were swarming about what was going to happen on Neptune Day. So Emma and I thought we would stay a step ahead and wake up early so that we were not alarmed by air horns or anything else. We got up at 5:00 and there was no activity on the ship so we went back to bed. At 6:50 we headed up to breakfast and there was still not a sole around. We were very anxious to figure out what the activities were going to be. Around 8:00am we heard drums eating in the halls, and then banging on the doors, it was the faculty dressed up and the start of the activities.

Over the loudspeaker all polliwogs were told to report to deck 7. Once up there we listened to a speech and then they began to pour fish guts on our heads. Initially, I was not going to participate and after Emma and our RA did it, I decided why not? So I went up there and it smelled horrible, the local dump would have smelled like a rose garden in comparison. Over my head went the horrible mixture of fish guts, I ran from there to the pool and jumped in. Forgetting that the pool on the ship was salt water, and there was already a lot of fish guts in it from the people in front of me, I thought I was going to get sick! I hurried out of there and kissed a huge dead fish. I was really grossed out! Then I ran to kiss the king and queens ring. I was finally done and officially not a polliwog anymore. I am officially an Emerald Shellback.
Emma and I ran for our room to shower. I jumped in clothes and all. After we were cleaned up we went back upstairs to see who was getting their heads shaved. That was the option if you did not do the fish guts. After almost 2 years of growing my hair out, my only choice was the fish guts. So many girls were shaving their heads, I could not believe it! It was starting to get kind of late and Emma and I had to study for a test we had at 7:30 that evening, so we went to our room to study.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


At about 12:30 today we crossed the Equator at the Prime Meridian.

0 degrees 0 degrees (CRAZY) 

This is a once in a lifetime event and because of its rarity, I am now an Emerald Shellback. We had one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern Hemisphere. We sailed a little bit off course so that we would be able to be some of the few people to experience it. We are celebrating with Neptune Day activities.
( We are just not sure of when)

Choices are to shave my head or have fish guts dumped on me.

Video From The Center of The Earth - SAS Fall 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Today was my last day at the orphanage, however, this was just my first time here! I will be returning, but with lots of toys and necessities for the children. There is a guest room at the orphanage that has never been used. I would like to bring back toys and a jungle gym. Yes, I have a bit of research to do to figure that one out. Where there is a will there's a way! 

Today was amazing! When I arrived, the three girls that I have bonded with, ran up to me, they were so excited  I was back.

Agnes was straight out of the shower, sopping wet and still had soap dripping down her legs. LOL Some of the kids must have told here I was there. So, she just threw on a dress and ran out to hug me! We brought more paper, some crayons, balloons, and suckers. They had about four suckers each today! They really wanted us to go back to their school with them, so we walked up there and visited. When we returned it was lunch time. They had soup, one piece of chicken and dough. Agnes offered me some and said she invites me to eat. I had to explain to her that the ship does not allow us to eat in ports, it was a rule. They all eat with their hands, even their soup. Hannah got creative and used a chicken bone as a spoon. It was crazy watching them eat, their was not anything left on the chicken bones. I think after I eat a piece of bone in chicken, there must be a whole meal left on the bone. I didn't even know all of that was edible. LOL

I started getting sad because I knew the end of our  visit was approaching and I did not want to say goodbye. When it was time to go, they started hugging me and asking me to please come back for them, or at least come and visit.

I could not even answer because my throat was hurting from trying to hold back my tears. I knew as soon as I opened my mouth I would start to cry. I did not want to leave them with an image of me crying. All the sudden Agnes started crying and that was it, I was in tears! Leaving there was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

I know this is a place I will for sure return to!


GHANA 9/23 & 9/24

Yesterday woke got up at 6:30am, headed to breakfast, then off to the market at 8:00am.We needed to exchange money into cedi, it took us a few hours to get that straightened out. They would only exchange the bills that were not worn very bad.
Emma, two other girls, and myself headed off to buy the shoes for the kids.
We decided to only buy a few from each stand because we did not want to draw attention to ourselves. Once we bought all the shoes we went in a store and bought 40 toothbrushes and 35 toothpastes. When we left, the store owner told us that she loved us. I'm pretty sure we bought as much as she probably sells in a year.
We have met so many kids as we walk through the town. We have been stopping, kneeling down and talking to them, and even taking pictures with some. It is so amazing, I can not even describe it. The children here just want love no matter who you are. We wanted to eat lunch on the ship before heading to the orphanage, so we got a taxi and went back to the ship. We freshened up, had some lunch and headed out again. This tour company that works for SAS said he would take us to the orphanage and that he knew where it was. Well, it turned out he had no clue at all! He kept asking for directions every two minutes.
 There was an orphanage on the side of the road, he pulled over and said here you go, this is it. We told him it was not the one we were going to and he insisted on going in to ask and make sure. When he returned he said that we were OK to go in. LOL We had to get him to understand that the kids at the other orphanage were waiting for us to return. So Emma called Daniel, the director of the orphanage we were going to and had him talk to the driver. When he got off the phone he told us it was to far and he could not take us.
 It was raining and he had to keep shuttling SAS students. He took us to a round-a-bout, pulled to the other side of the road and got us 5 taxis. He got back on the bus and drove straight across the street and BAM! I heard something hit, sure enough he hit us in the taxi. It was interesting. They both got out, looked at the damage, never said anything to each other and went on about their day. No police were called, no information was exchanged, it was very different from the United States. hahah

We finally arrived at the correct orphanage.
 They gave us a tour and we were able to interact with the kids. We served them their dinner, which consisted of a small bowl of rice. Extremely sad!

We took all the shoes and put them on the table, all the kids just kept looking at them and pointing. Two older boys were eying these boots that were donated, they were about 180.00 U.S.  They were looking at the size and kind of fighting over them. It was sad because we did not have 2 pair but is was great to see that they really liked what we had brought.
It was 6:00pm and time for us to leave. The children have to go to bed at 8:00pm. So, we left and headed back to the ship. This is where my engagement took place. Yes, for those of you who did not know, I am engaged to a Ghanaian. LOL I will be returning with a fiancee, and he has planned out our whole life. He is 27 years old and will be joining me in America in 4 years. That is when he will ask my dads permission to marry me. He said then we will get married and we were going to have beautiful children because he is black and I am white and that makes beautiful children. We took a picture together and he said that is our photo for our wedding announcements. hahaha It was so funny, he said he was so in love with me! Well, he is police officer, so I guess I didn't do to bad! Unfortunately, it was about the 6th marriage proposal I had received in two days, however he was the only one with a plan! LOL

Today, 9/24/10-After we had breakfast we headed to the market for a few last items. Just as we stepped out of the cab a 30ish year old woman came to us and asked if we could take her back to America with us. We told her that was not possible and she said she would pray for us to make a lot of money so that we could come back in a few years and get her. She wanted to live a little bit of her life in America so she would know what it was like to have a good life. Wow, 8:30 am and we already have had our heart broken. We finished up our shopping and headed for the ship for showers and lunch. Once we arrived at the orphanage, the kids were so excited to see us. We brought play-dough, stickers, color books, markers, crayons, story books and some flags. (Thank you to everyone that made those last minute donations before I left)

The kids had an amazing time with everything! One little girl asked if I had children, I told her no, that I was not ready to have children. She said, "When you are ready to have kids, will you come back and get me?"

Another child asked Emma if she could teach him everything he needed to know to become a pilot. Words can not explain how sweet these children are, and how much they admire America. My goal is to start saving money and come back here with toys and necessities to help better these childrens lives. Emma is thinking about coming back her for four months, living at the orphanage, helping out and teaching school.  OMG, I would love to do that!

 We went to the children's school , there were 766 students and 13 teachers. Three of the teachers are only part-time. There are over100 students in a classroom. I have never seen anything like this. Emma and I taught part of the class today. We drew maps of where we live and where they live. We showed them how we got here and they asked a lot of questions that we answered for them about America.

I read some kids the Princess and the Frog book and they loved it. I took some index cards and the kids drew me a picture and wrote on them and I did the same in return, so we each have something to remember each other with.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I woke up early this morning to watch the sunrise as we pulled into Ghana, however when I made it outside at 6:00am the sun was up. At 7:00am the pilot boats guided us in. While we were anchoring we watched dolphins and whales swimming on the sides of the ship. There were Ghanaian's in canoes, they were waving at us as we pulled in. It was really cool, this stop is new for Semester at Sea and it is not a tourist spot. My malaria medication does not agree with me and it has been making me feel sick. So I went back to my room, ate some crackers, and went back to sleep while the ship cleared customs. Once we were cleared to get off the ship, we headed out for our city orientation tour. They took us to a flour factory, it was interesting, but I am not sure exactly why it was on the tour.

LOL  A guy that works in the factory gave me his number and wants me to call him when I get back to the United States. (Now that's what I would call a long distance relationship...hahah)

They drove us through all different parts of Ghana, we saw kids bathing with buckets of water on the sides of the roads and guys going to the bathroom wherever. There were people with fires going and laying next to them where slaughtered animals, ready to cook. Little girls and women walk around carrying heavy baskets on their heads. They do not even hold them and one lady was carrying one on her head, walking and texting on a cell phone. Crazy!

When the tour got to the market, we asked to get off there. We wanted to find a sim card to call home and see what else was for sale. Emma and I each bought a sim card with 50 minutes of talk time for 5 cedi, thats $3.45 in American money. I am sure we will be buying more before we leave. Oh ya, I have been taught by the best ;) I made sure I was not getting ripped off by having him wait there while I called my mom, once I was connected, I paid him. After that we decided to get some postcards, then we realized this was not a tourist area and therefore, there were not any postcards. Then we were pulled into a building by a mother & father of a two year old. They were trying to give us their daughter to bring back to the United States. They were telling us she would have a better life with us in the U.S. and to please just take her with us. The mother was explaining to the child that she was going to go with us. We explained to the parents that this was not possible and if we could get her on the ship then we would have taken her. It was breaking my heart! I in no way am interested in having a child in my life and I wanted to bring this beautiful little girl home! killed me, I was getting all choked up when I called my mom to tell her.

As we went through the market, we found a bag of suckers to buy. We handed a sucker to three children and in a matter of seconds over thirty people were swarming us, children and adults. Some wanted the suckers and some were yelling at us to give them money. Luckily, the police were not far behind us and they told everyone to get away from us. Emma and I learned our lesson and will never do that again. Also, people would just approach us in the market and ask for a drink of our water. It is a very different lifestyle here. Picture taking is not acceptable unless you have made friends with the people and they say it is OK.

A little later we ran into a little girl selling toothbrushes for .20 cedi, .14 U.S, and she had ten for sale. We bought all of them. Her eyes lit up, she was so excited. We did not tell her they were for the orphanage, we just said we like toothbrushes. She followed us for 45 minutes and kept laughing. When we asked her what was so funny, she said "You just bought 10 toothbrushes!" It was so cute! We were in amazement at the lifestyle and just tried to take in as much as we could. We took some pictures with local kids. Guys would approach us, ask us our names, and ask for our numbers. We would tell them we left our phones in the U.S and we don't have numbers. They wanted to take us out, but we would just thank them and tell them that our school will not allow us to go out at night.

We headed back to the ship to have some dinner and rest for tomorrow. It is our big shopping day. We will be buying everything we need for the orphanage.
         I will have more Ghana updates soon! I am so excited to be here and doing these things. Today has been the most exciting and memorable day in my life!                                                                                      

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

3 hours until we dock in Ghana

A few quick updates-We are scheduled to arrive in Ghana at 5:30 am and I am meeting some friends on deck to watch the sunrise and watch us pull into port. It has been a very rough ride this past week. We were caught in a storm and today I found out our stabilizers are broken. They  can not e fixed in Ghana so we will have to wait until Cape Town, which means more rough seas ahead! LOL
Emma and I will be going on the city orientation tour when we dock. This way we can see some highlights of Ghana before we take off on our own.

We have now raised 600.00 and collected 50 pairs of shoes. The used shoes will be put into storage so as new kids come in or these kids grow out of their shoes they can pick from these. Emma and I will be going to the orphanage to meet the children and figure out what sizes each child needs. We will then go to the marketplace and we are purchasing a brand new pair of shoes for each child. YAYYYY!!! We are so excited to give every child in the orphanage a brand new pair of shoes. I can not tell you what a great feeling this is. I am already worried about saying good-bye to these kids.

My safari has been canceled due to lack of participation, however I am not sad at all. It gives me more time to spend at the orphanage and that I am EXCITED for!

One of the staff members got bit by a monkey and she is fine, but she had to spend a lot of money on the rabies shots and what not. Someone has had malaria on the ship, they got it in Morocco.  They also are fine and have been treated on the ship. 

Here is a little funny note: 

So you will never guess what people ask the deans all the time!
Here is the question and no I DID NOT ASK THIS! LOL

Do the crew members sleep on-board?

Sounds like a Mackenzie question from the past, but not anymore!! ;) (hopefully) 

Takoradi, Ghana, West Africa in 24 hours

Another small change in my plans, flexibility is key on this type of adventure!

The next stop on my adventure is Takoradi , Ghana, West Africa. I will be arriving on the 22nd and will stay until the 25th. Emma and I have been hard at work collecting donations of shoes and cash. We have collected 50 pairs of shoes and $450.00 in cash. We will be buying underwear and bras with the extra money. 
When I get into Ghana, I will be meeting up with Fredrick, he is a local that I have met through Facebook and he does tours. Several of us have been talking to him over the past year and have talked with other students that have been on his tours. He will be taking us on a safari for a couple nights. I was also going to walk on top of the Canopy trees, but instead I am going to take that last day to go to the Egyam Orphanage. The numerical strength of the orphanage stands at 54 children, made up of 19 girls and 35 boys. The ages range from 4yrs to 16 years old.
As it turned out I am the group leader for the safari and do not want to leave my group hanging so I will not be doing the three days at this orphanage, however I have several service based projects scheduled when I reach Cape Town, South Africa. I will fill you in more on those when I arrive. 
Last night I went to a sustainability panel. There were a lot of questions and answers that were extremely interesting, it really made you think about how each of us is making an impact on the earth and where humans will be in the long run. For my younger family members here is a link to learn what sustainability is: Sustainability 
I have already been making small changes in my lifestyle. I am trying not to waste water like I have my whole life. I never could understand how one person can make a difference, but you can.  I turn off the water while I brush my teeth, shave my legs and soap my hair and body. It is kind of weird but I am getting used to it. I also do not dump out the remaining water in my water bottles when it gets hot , I just drink it anyways. I am just thankful I have something to drink!
Today I attended an explorer seminar about Ghana Culture and tomorrow I will be attending the Logistical Pre-Port meeting. A lot of information is learned in these meetings. I am finding them to be extremely informative and educational.
Tomorrow night I will be having dinner with my "extended family", Katie and Dan (Parents), and Cody (Brother). After our Ghana adventures, we will be playing ham chunk with three other "extended families" Several of the "parents" are faculty members. Everyday I meet more people, it is crazy!
After seeing the little bit I have seen in the way of other peoples lives, I am so beyond fortunate I can not even begin to express my feelings. Everyone of you reading this, no matter if you have tons of money or struggle from payday to payday, you are still more fortunate then the people I am meeting in these countries. When we leave our homes we struggle with WHICH pair of shoes we are going to wear and these children worry if they even have a pair to put on. 

I do not know what the internet situation will be in Ghana, so if you do not hear from me, do not worry, I will post when I am back on the ship!

Until then, I love everyone and can not wait to share this next chapter with you!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

A quick update

I am really excited, I was able to make a few changes to my schedule in Ghana, so I can spend three days at the orphanage that Emma and I are collecting the shoes for. I will also be taking some of the items everyone from home donated. The only small problem is, Emma and I will be ridding bikes to the orphanage, that is the only mode of transportation to get there. So, 75 pairs of shoes, kids underwear, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and drawing supplies, along with my overnight bag, all on a bicycle, should be an interesting feat!
While we are there we will be painting the building, cleaning, teaching English and/or just playing with the children.
The other day we had a guest speaker in our Global Studies class and her goal is to get a tree planted for every person that listens to her lecture. She has contacted someone in South Africa and made plans for us to plant 1000 trees to represent the Fall 2010 voyage. There will be a sign put up saying Fall 2010. The really exciting part is, we will be able to watch the trees grow over the years with the help of Google earth. Isn't that so cool?!

These are the experiences I am here to be a part of, hopefully to make a difference in someones life, as well as my own.
Until next time.....Mackenzie

Friday, September 17, 2010


Not a lot to report, I just thought I would update everyone on a few things. First, I have joined an extended family. It is an adult couple and 2 guys from SAS and myself. It is sponsored  through SAS and it gives us someone to do things with and be able to talk to if we need it. We will be doing a few things together in ports also.
My roommate and I are raising money to buy 75 pairs of shoes for an orphanage. My roommate will be going and spending 3 days at the orphanage, I will not be able to go because I will be working on another project at that time. We have been going door to door on the ship getting donations and we are putting a write-up in the Deans Memo for everyone in the shipboard community to read. These are the things I am excited to be doing while I am gone.
After I returned from Morocco I got a mani and pedi that my mom got me for my birthday. It was so needed. I also was able to get a facial, again, thanks to my parents. Those were great birthday gifts! I still have 2 more cakes to have delivered that my nanny and auntie sent me on my birthday. Yum, it is the best food you can find on this ship.
Other then that I have been trying to stay on top of my homework. Even though it looks like all I am doing is "playing" it is not so. There is a ton of homework and I am trying hard to keep my grades up. Today I am getting ready to go to an inter-port lecture from a person from Ghana. I will learn more about Ghana from their perspective. I am excited to hear what they have to say.

Love to everyone and I will post again soon!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Well, to say the least I am happy to be alive! Seriously! It started off with the warnings from University of Virginia and Semester at Sea about the security level of being in a Muslim country being raised. With that putting me on edge and my mother sending 7 million emails about being safe, it was time to head for the Casa Voyagers train depot in Casablanca, Morocco. We were aiming for the 8:50 am train to Marrakech. Once we arrived at the train station we realized we had forgotten to bring our passports. We had to get a taxi back to the ship, have him wait for us, and return to the train depot. Amazingly, the train was 10 minutes late, when we boarded we had some trouble finding seats, but eventually did. The train ride was fine. At least we did not break down like the group the day before us did. The stops were not announced and we were very confused as to where to get off. We knew it was about a 4 hour ride. The train finally reached the end and we got off. Luckily, this was the right stop. We got another taxi, since all my moms emails said not to walk by ourselves, and he took us within 100 feet of our hostel. Problem was that we still would not have been able to find it without the help of this boy who was right there when we got out of the taxi. It was seriously about 100 feet so we gave him 5 derm, which he said to us that was nothing, do you see what you gave me. So we gave him another 5 derm, and he said no 20 derm. In the situation we were in, we gave him the 20 derm.. Once inside the Riad Massin, the owner and staff treated us wonderfully, we felt at home. They made us mint tea and told us where to go shopping, what to see, and where to exchange some money.

 So we decided to venture out to the souk and find some lunch. Yes, we were in Morocco but ate at an Italian cafe. LOL After we ate it was time for some shopping, we bought some traditional Moroccan outfits for our camel trek the next day. I kind of felt like we were replaying a scene from Sex in the City 2! LOL  There were snake charmers, and monkeys running loose.

 My friend had the snake on her and it kissed her between the eyes, so now she had been blessed. I passed on that! We were chased by monkeys, which I got a picture of, and all that I could think of was OMG I did not get my rabies shot! By now it was getting very dark and we decided to head back to the hostel. We relaxed and smoked some Hookah while we watched some other SAS students cook  with the owners. It was very interesting.

A little later we were hungry so the owners took us out to get some ice cream and bread. This gave us a whole new perspective on the Souks, because at night there are not tourists, it is just the locals. It was interesting to watch them in there normal life. When we returned to the hostel we headed for bed since we had to be up and ready to leave at 6:45 am for our Camel Trek. We had a 6 hour drive ahead of us through the Atlas Mountains. We saw a lot of interesting sites and historical places. Some of the views were breathtaking. There were people riding donkeys along the roadways.
However, this is where the trip got a little interesting. There are lanes drawn on the roadways, however, I do not think they know what they are for. No one stays in them and they pass whenever they want. We video tapped some of our ride because no matter what I say you will never understand the experience. The bus in front of us got in an accident so we stayed with them and it put us behind schedule. My culture shock had only just begun. As we continued our journey, we passed by mud huts that people actually lived in. They do not even have running water and if they do it is usually not hot water. Toilet paper is scarce, so luckily my mom sent me with toilet paper and seat covers. :) I have also learned that the left hand here is a dirty hand. Meaning they use it to wipe and that means without toilet paper. We finally arrived at 6:30 pm to start our camel trek of the Sahara Desert.

 It was beginning to get dark and our guide was like get your stuff lets go. Nothing was explained to us, I was so confused but off we went. We rode for about an hour and a half, but my butt was done after about 20 min. LOL We had arrived at the Nomad tents.
 I was sitting in the pitch dark, outside my tent and I just started crying. I am not sure why I broke down, I think not knowing what we were doing, I had not eaten much, I was exhausted and overwhelmed by everything, I just fell apart. Kayla and Amy were right there for me and told me everything would be fine and I was able to calm down. They brought two small tables inside our tent and the nomads served us soup and tea. It was so hot in the tent and I was dressed for it to be cold. I started to feel like I was going to get sick so Kayla gave me her short sleeved shirt so I could undress a bit and I drank two protein shakes and stood outside my tent and I started to feel better. The pringles and M & M's for breakfast did not hold me over. Hahaha   We decided to sleep outside our tents so we could see the stars. It was beautiful. I slept with my phone in my money belt and my camera in my hand, I was so worried I would be robbed. LOL They woke us up at 6:00 am to watch the sunrise. It was gorgeous! Something I am so glad I didn't miss.We packed up and got on our camels and headed back.

 Once we were back in the bus for another thrill ride, they were going to drop us off at the train station in Marrakech but everyone on the bus asked if they could take us straight to the ship. So for 90 derm each they said they would. It was supposed to take 2 1/2 hours instead of the 4 hours on the train but it took 6 extra hours. We were all starving by this point and uncomfortable and just wanted to be at the ship to get food, showers and sleep. By the time we got to the ship there was not any food available so showers and bed was the only choice. I slept in this morning and did not get off the ship. I needed a recovery day before class tomorrow. I am working on homework and took time to workout, so I am feeling much better.

One of the ships rules was we could not bring livestock back onto the ship. I was thinking when I was told this, seriously?? Where and why would I want to bring livestock on the ship, well when you can buy a baby camel for $600.00 who would not want to get one??

Anyways, I have several days at sea so that means my nose will be in my books. I will be in Ghana on September 22nd. So that is when my next crazy adventure will begin.

I love all of you and will post again soon!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Casablanca, Morocco

I am not sure where to start on this country. Nothing like Spain, that's for sure. When we got off the ship we took a bus into the city. We exchanged some money for derm and headed to find food. We found a true Moroccan restaurant. They even had Hookah to smoke while we ate. The food was fabulous. Our total bill in the end was 1,028 derm which is 117.02 USD. Kind of an expensive meal. After we finished  we headed to a marketplace. People had dyed baby chicks blue, pink, green and were selling them.


I am still not sure what I would need a dyed chick for?? Amy and I thought her bag was being stolen by this woman that grab it and when I pushed her away she grabbed mine. I was a bit scared to say the least, but her English speaking husband approached and said she was trying to tell Amy to wear it in the front. Hmmmmm, nice cover or truly a nice couple?
From there I was just in amazement at the women sitting around and breastfeeding their children, children of all ages. Many, many children approaching us for money. There was lots of food for sale, breads, meat, fruit and flies were everywhere on it. There was lots of name brand clothes, like Ed Hardy, Burberry, and hats, purses, jewelry, shoes and henna tattoos. A lady grabbed my hand and started doing a henna tattoo, so needless to say I am out 30 derm. However, I felt like a bargainer, she wanted 40 derm and I said no 30 derm and she agreed but as I was trying to my money out of my "safe place" in my pants, she started grabbing it. LOL Oh well, it was worth the experience. Taking pictures here is difficult. A lot of the time it is not acceptable. I have to make sure to ask the mans permission and even then they do not want it. People will come up to you and tell you not to take any picture. I am still in amazement at what a different lifestyle it is here.
We are just happy we have survived our shopping experience no thanks to the motor scooters going 25mph straight through the marketplace, that is crowded with people.

Anyways, hopefully I will get some pictures. As for tomorrow, we are not sure but on the 11th I am heading to Marrakesh to stay in a hostel then on the 12th I am going on a Camel trek through the Sahara Desert and camping with the Nomads.  I am sure I will get some pics of that.

Love you all and I will check back soon!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Well to say the least, this country was amazing!  After we docked in Cadiz and the ship cleared customs, we headed straight to the train station. We were headed to Seville. It was 100 degrees and we had no idea where we were heading after we got off the train. So after walking for what seemed like hours we found our hostile. My mom had me scared to death of what I may be staying in, however, I was pleasantly surprised. It was clean and actually quite cute. The fun part was seven of us staying in a room designed for 4. It made it fun and for 40 euros for the three nights it was the best deal in town.
 So my next big adventure was the Bullfight! First off, I know this is a big Spanish cultural event, however I will never attend one again! With that being said, it was something I am glad I experienced in the way of learning more about the Spanish culture. I am still not sure how I feel that I paid to watch 6 bulls be killed. One bullfight consists of 6 bulls dieing. HORRIBLE!!!!Needless to say, we left after 3. Honestly, 1 would have been enough. During the bullfight you are not allowed to get up for any reason.....Yes, even the restroom. I did find out that the meat is sold. At least it is not a wasteful death, but they make money on us paying to watch them be killed and then again on the meat.....I am not so sure about how "Cultural" this all is. LOL I won't post the gruesome picture.
The nightlife in Spain proved to be as lively as the rumors I had heard. We spent most nights in the bars. One key it of information is credit cards are not accepted at almost ALL places, nor do all banks exchange the American dollar for Euros. (Very different then Europe) So between all of us borrowing money back and forth and trying to make sure we had enough for the train ride back to Cadiz, we made it with no Euros to spare!

The next day we headed to Cordoba, and spent the day walking around and exploring the city. A lot of  religious artifacts.

We head back to Cadiz for a night out for my birthday! Before we headed out in the evening we went to the beach. Surprise to us it was a nude beach! Even the children were walking around in thongs and no tops. My friends and I have decided we need to write a book, we have so many crazy stories already. Now for my birthday, which, any of you that know me, know that this is always an annual event that is not to be forgotten! LOL Well, needless to say I think I am the one that may have forgotten the nights events. Thanks to Ed and Kayla for seeing me back to the ship and putting me to bed. :) I did return to the ship and managed to stay out of that was a good thing.

We are off to Morocco tonight and we will be arriving tomorrow so we have an extra day there! Very excited for my Camel trek and camping with the nomads. So, until I get better wi-fi there will not be many pictures. My mom is trying to deal with this but is having a hard time :)

Here is one last picture of some of the group I was traveling with!

I love everyone at home and will talk to you after Morocco!

Birthday Dinner

Today at dinner I had a cake from my Mom, Dad, and brothers. It was so good! I also have two other cakes from my Aunt and Uncle and my Nanny and Papa but I have them coming a week apart. Too much cake for one night. I feel so loved though. We just got done taking a picture on the deck. I miss everyone at home and thank you all for the Happy Birthday wishes! I had a great birthday! 

Friday, September 3, 2010

This morning we got up and watched the sunrise and watched Spain get closer and closer to us=)