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!


  1. I just read all of your blogs, they sound interesting and fun but I dont think I can do it. I need A/C, energy drinks, and my Lazy Boy chair. I love you! DAD

  2. Hey Kenz. Loved the info. Some parts made me LOL. Get some rest and relax. I will try to keep your mom relaxed at the next port. ROFL. Love you!