One word that sums my week-end up: epic (That's for you Jamie). The one thing that I really enjoy about traveling outside of my culture is meeting other cultures through people. This week-end I drank tea with a local family, rode and saw royal horses, and was able to show off Meknes to travelers passing through. Let me start off with the family and the horses. Right next to my school, there is a family that tends the royal horses. A year long student (I would like to describe him as a "cool cat"-he says "groovy" all the time) brought me, Tiffany, and Jennifer to meet the family and ride on the horses. It's not like in America where you pay someone money, get on the horse, have fun and then leave. No, here, you drink tea with the family, eat pastries, and have a small lunch with them. Then they take you to the horses and see all of them (there will be pictures on photobucket). They took us to a riding area and basically gave us lessons on how to ride the horses. It was an awesome experience that I am blessed to have. I was told I had good form. The family is very sweet! After riding we went back to their house and they gave us some more tea and invited us to couscous to their house this Friday :). I'm pretty excited.
So that was Saturday afternoon. Saturday night I met up with a guy from couch surfing that was in Meknes Thursday night. Long story short this guy was in another city in Morocco, met a couple from Holland (real Holland, not Holland, MI - the guy is actually from Australia but is working in Holland) and then re-met them in Meknes. I met up with the three of them and took them around town. I brought them to a cafe that sold beer so we drank Special beer (seriously that's what it's called) then I took them to get dinner at a great restaurant and since they have never smoked shisha (hookah) I took them to a shisha bar (that's where a bunch of ISA students came along too). They asked about the nightlife in Meknes and let me tell you there really isn't one unless you go to a nightclub. So nightlife here is going out for tea and shisha and that's it. We took everyone back to our apartment and pretty much had a party. There were at least 20 people here! It was great. The funny thing is, I was explaining my Holland to the Hollanders and they were shocked at our festival - Tulip Time. They said that we probably know more about the Dutch history than they do because we celebrate Tulip Time every year. Oh and they thought the dancing was bizarre (youtubed it).
Sunday, we headed up to the souk (it's like a flea market). The souk is in Zitoun where our school is. It's like a Medina but people from all over come to the souk on Sunday (it's only on Sundays and it closes at 2) to get great deals. Some of the things are second hand items and some are brand new. We were told not to bring cameras, purses, wear jewelry, and keep your money in your front or inside pockets because theft is really high there. We checked out the clothing area and each of my roommates including myself got at least one article of clothing. We paid all together to get the price down and total we only paid 10 dirhams (that's a little over $1)! Crazy!! One thing that was a huge shock was the live chickens. We past at least 10 different shops that sold live chickens, can kill them right there and skin them right in front of you. There were chickens, feather, and chicken feet all over the place! If I had my camera I would have taken a picture. It was insane but I guess that's the freshest way of doing things.
So that was my week-end of epicness. Today (Monday), my roommate and I met up with a Moroccan girl who took us around the Medina. She's so nice and sweet!! She helped us lower prices and communicating to the shop owners. It was wonderful and I had a great time!
And that's why this week-end is a series of fortunate events. ISA delayed our trip to Casablanca and Rabat because of the protests and because of that, I was able to meet a lot of different people and make new friends all over the world.
*Correction from last blog: the CIA has the unemployment rate wrong - it's more like 40-50% of the people are unemployed (that's the word from the street).