Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It snows in Morocco!

Wait, what?! I thought I left the snow to go to a non-snowing country, well I was wrong.
Yup, snow. Where you ask? Well, in the mountains. Yup, I climbed a mountain! Well before we get to the mountain part let me start with what I did on Saturday. Saturday was our day trip to Volubilis and Moulay Idriss. Some background on both of those: Volubilis was a Roman town when Rome pretty much ruled everything. They used this town to export exotic animals to Rome for the gladiators. Today this town today looks like this:

So we toured this area and then headed to Moulay Idriss. History on Moulay Idriss: Islam in Morocco started here. This town was off limits to non-Muslims until five years ago.
Here is a picture of Moulay Idriss:
So that was Saturday. On Sunday we went to Ifrane, Zorgan's house (a friend of ISA) and then we climbed the Atlas Mountains. Ifrane is a very clean town because there is a prestigious private University (all the other Universities in Morocco are government funded) so this town reminded me a little bit of Sweden or something like that. It's close to the mountains so people go to Ifrane to go skiing. After Ifrane we went to Zorgan's house. Zorgan is an Amazigh (another name for a Berber). We ate breakfast there and it was amazing! So good!! This is what it looked like:
Yum! After breakfast, we headed up the mountain. It was a long walk up but it was worth it. There was snow and cedar trees everywhere! When we got to the top, we had to walk slightly down the mountain to see the monkeys! Yup, I said monkeys :), well technically they are apes because they don't have tails but they are the same in my eye. We were able to feed them and get really close to them.
Aww, how cute. We walked up some more until we reached our bus. We were only on the bus for no more than 10 minutes and then Daniel (program director) told us we have to hike some more! At this point we already hiked for like 2 hours. I'm glad I hiked this last one because I was pretty much on top of the world! Here's a pic:
It was wonderful! What goes up, must come down so we had to walk back down this mountain and I think our hiking time totaled to 3 1/2 hours. Pretty intense but it felt wonderful! We then went to Azrou to get lunch and headed back home.
So that was my weekend. It was amazing and beautiful!
Yesterday was an experience for me. Okay so I already experienced the squatty pottys (eeww! I know!) but yesterday I experienced the Hammam. If you don't know what a hammam is, it is basically a public bath. It was very relaxing and wonderful. I have never felt so clean and smooth before. When someone goes to a hammam they bring a mat, a scrubby and whatever they usually use in the shower. It felt like a sauna in there. Everyone had their own little facet - one with warm and another with cold. You first wash yourself with the water and then use this green glooby stuff mixed with henna and rub it all over you body. You wash that stuff off and wait to get scrubbed down by the hammam ladies. Dead skin everywhere (eww!). After being scrubbed (seriously my skin turned red by being scrubbed so hard), you wash yourself like in a shower but sitting down. Volia! That's basically the hammam.
This week is going to be an interesting week. I don't have school Wednesday or Thursday because it's the Prophet's birthday. People from all over come to Meknes to celebrate it so there are going to trances, animal sacrifice (maybe), dances, music, and whatever else goes with a celebration in the Medina. Hopefully I can take some great pictures and share it with everyone!
Pictures are now up: Check out the Tangier, the mountains, Volubilis and Moulay Idriss, and I added an album in Meknes to show you my school. I hope you enjoy it! http://s1193.photobucket.com/albums/aa343/bellydance_barbie/

1 comment:

  1. Squee!! Volubilis is amazing, and the hammam is unsettling at first, but I really enjoyed it. :D That breakfast looked delicious...