Okay … it’s 2:15 am, and after 24-hours of continuous travel, from Casablanca to Irvine, I’m home. Here are a few random thoughts that you might enjoy:
– Without donkeys, carts and especially mopeds, Moroccan life would be radically different. These “primitive” methods of transportation have revolutionized the country, and are an important part of the economy.
– I was SO excited when I discovered that most of my chargers don’t need a power converter to use. If you look at your phone and computer charger, they most likely say 110 to 220 volts … I had no idea … I had been using a convert to convert everything to 110 volts (European standard is 210). So all you need is a little plug adapter to make the prongs fit right.
– If your house has a toilet that is clean and flushes, then you are among the lucky people on this planet. We were at a number of restaurants that had a hole in the floor with two footpads. (Girls, enjoy your squat. Just don’t wear a dress.) Count yourself lucky for living somewhere developed.
– Morocco and Spain — at least where we were — were surprisingly devoid of animal or insect life.
– Moroccans fight a lot amongst themselves. We saw 3 fist-fights in the streets … and one (through the doors) inside of a mosque!
– Moroccans say “please” an awful lot, even when there’s no reason to say it. If you just say please after about 30% of your sentences, you’ll know what I mean.
– Oh … and if you don’t understand something I say, just nod your head, smile, and say “Yes.” It doesn’t matter what I said. This seems to work very well for the Moroccans.
– When your flight leaves Paris at sunset time and you fly north, you can actually watch the sun SET, then watch it slowly RISE several hours later … only to SET as you start heading south again. This, by the way, confuses your body badly, and makes you wonder what the heck is going on.
– Things that are 300 years old in Morocco are so YOUNG as to not even be worth mentioning. Things in the US that are 300 years old are only on the East Coast, and pretty much revered as ancient history. I think that makes our forward perspective pretty short-sighted in comparison.
– Overseas internet access is hard to come by … at the worst, it was $24 per hour to use (in Fes) … so ask before you check into a hotel if it’s important to you.
– French people cut in line all the time.
– Moroccan food, as nice as it is, can get really boring after 8 days of it. Please don’t feed me a Tangine of anything soon.
– The Moroccans are great salespeople, and great hagglers. This can be fun … the thrill of getting things at 70% off or more is awesome. Even if I am still getting screwed, and find the piece for less money in the airport concessions stands.
– Pigeon meat tastes like chicken.
– I’m lucky to have great friends like Mark and Mark that I can travel for 2 weeks with … and not hate completely.
– Morocco is a fairly green country, contrary to what I expected. I dream of finding a place with wildflowers that dramatic where I can actually get out of the car and walk among the field.
– The guidebook said cover up, don’t use your left hand, and be prepared to somehow offend someone because you’re a non-Muslim heathen. Wrong. Moroccans are the most tolerant, loving people I could imagine. They’ll take you for every dirham you’ve got if you let them, but that’s your fault. They’re probably more tolerant than most Americans.
– I don’t think we were in one place where 80 – 90% of the people spoke a second language, and often they spoke 3. Americans are really behind the curve on that one.
– Seeing Barcelona, Granada, Seville, Cordoba, Tanger, Marrakech, Fes, Rabat, Meknes, Casablanca, and touches of Paris and Greenland in a two week period is just WAAAY too fast. Remind me to try and take things slower next time, please.
– I had a long discussion with our guide, in private, at dinner. He made a very convincing point that “the land of the free” really isn’t as free as many of the other countries are anymore. It made me kind of sad.
– Flamenco is amazing, and if there is ever a chance to see it locally I really need to do that. And you should, too.
– What we consider traffic is a joke.
– I miss my friends & family when I’m gone. I wish you all could’ve shared these experiences with me.
Hello Jason. Keep a clear and level head for the rest of this!
Congrats on your marriage and travel accomplishments. I am not so astounded to find that you are still a passionate and dedicated individual after all these years (not really, hell, I grew up alongside you, but was too confused to know just how cool you were at that time ;). SoCal seems to give some of us tunnelvision when viewing the rest of the world; but not you, or for that reason, me either. Thank you for the influence and memories that you and your family have given me 😉
Sent from somewhere in ****** (where I’ve been for over 10 years and have, well, integrated. So please forgive my long forgotten English writing skills. I took no tours, no guides, and I wandered some of these countries in dire circumstances (truly dire, and sometimes dangerous WooHoo! However, I would think that I was always a bit of an adrenaline junkie). Anyway, I hope that you didn’t find my update offensive, however late and unannounced, and I wish you and April all the best!
Enjoy life, and keep on writing….
***** ****** (and Family)
WOW!!!! And TORTURE — amazing to hear from you, and yet no contact information! Please get in touch with me personally — very easy to find me, I would love to continue (reboot?) the conversation!!