The Summer voyage's final port of Morocco was a blend of wonderful food, dynamic architecture, a more laid back environment than Egypt, and a port that capped off a memorable summer for the students. Here are some of their adventures:
Claire Hunter, Wesleyan University (CT)
I went to Marrakesh and camel riding in palm groves as part of my time in Morocco and it was a really nice time in the country. I was able to speak with people in French which was helpful. And the trek through the palm groves was beautiful. Yes, we had a bit of a tourist experience, but we also had an authentic experience to travel as current and past Moroccans had done. And we were able to have mint tea in a traditional Berber house. I found in Morocco that no matter what degree of wealth or poverty people were very generous. They were filled with so much joy and different things were important to them.
My only disappointment with Morocco was that I didn’t really feel like I was in Africa. The French presence was very strong and I didn’t expect it to be so imbedded in the culture. It was very reminiscent of colonization there. Still, I would have liked to have stayed there for longer.
Suci Madjidji, U-Pitt
While in Morocco, I was fortunate enough to stay at the homes of two families in Rabat and Fes, who were friends of a friend of mine from home.
First, my friends and I met with a 25-year-old and his friends to visit Rabat. Seeing the city from a Moroccan’s perspective was a wonderful and special experience. I was able to experience Rabat like other tourists couldn’t, which first meant eating camel burgers at a place where the guys are regulars. Eating camel was an interesting experience, but what made it especially memorable—and somewhat disturbing—was the camel head hanging in front of the restaurant. It was one thing to eat camel; it was another to stare at camel parts while my meal was being prepared. Surprisingly, the camel was pretty good. Hanging out with the guys showed me that we could have things in common despite our different cultures and that those differences made our experience all the more memorable.
In Fes, I was invited to the home of an 18-year-old girl whose family is somewhat conservative. The family was very welcoming and kind but, in talking with the girl, I realized the disparity between what she wanted to do and what she was allowed to do because of her family’s values. Our conversation made me appreciate the independence my parents afford me and the support they provide.
My time in Morocco was fun and very enlightening. I learned a lot about the culture and I was also able to teach them about mine. I also left with the best thing I had gotten from any of the countries we have visited— new friends.
Baron Yeh, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver BC
I had a really terrific time in Morocco. The countryside is gorgeous. Parts of it look like places you would see in the states with the mountains and dry lands. The people are gracious and friendly. And having the chance to see how people live, how they make oil and spices, make tea. A group of us did zip-lining just outside of Marrakech and it was an absolutely amazing experience. It may not have been directly connected to Moroccan culture, but I think it’s still a unique and really fun way to see the diversity of the landscape. And, in going there, our guide took us to homes where people were living and it’s a wonderful view, a different view of a part of the country and the people.
Maia Kobabe, Dominican University (CA)
I heard before that Casablanca was not an interesting city, but I found it to be the complete opposite. The [Hassan II] Mosque was definitely the big highlight. My tour of it was too fast for me to draw, so I went back again to really admire the architecture and sketch all the different aspects of the building. It was really nice to have the time to reflect on my time in the country and listen to the ocean.
I also enjoyed a one-day tour we had of Rabat and seeing the Casbah that they turned into a public garden. I also thought the unfinished mosque there was really interesting from an architectural point of view with the half-completed minoret and a field full of incomplete columns, but no walls. I almost went back to Rabat again just to go there again.
Overall, it was nice to have Morocco be our last port. Casablanca wasn’t as hectic as Alexandria and Cairo. Plus, I had some of the most amazing mint tea and Moroccan pastries and enjoyed going out for a Moroccan dinner or dessert almost every night after having dinner on the ship. They were really nice evenings with friends and a special way to explore Moroccan cuisine, culture and people.