Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Sahara and Couscous


+ This
= So much fun in Morocco!!

So on to Morocco part two! I have so much to share....okay i have to backtrack because on this post i will give you a little idea of the trials of TRAVEL through Morocco. On my last post I failed to mention the train ride from Tangier to Rabat....

Travel story #1
Once we got on the train we found out we had to get off at one stop and then get on another train that would take us to Rabat...this sounded fine...but once we got on the second train i realized it was going to suck big time! the whole train was packed...and i mean PACKED with people. So much in fact that you couldnt sit in any of the compartments but had to stand in this tiny isle and not just stand but be completely packed in between so many hot and smelly people. ha ha at first we were like this is okay it is only like 40 min....till we talked to the girl next to us who told us it was actually 3 hours UHG!! So finally we got to Rabat but now the problem was getting off the we fought our way through all the people to the exit only to find that the door was jammed so we had to fight our way through to the other side of the train car to the other door...but the train had already started to go..i looked back at Austin and was like.."yeah?" and he nodded and so we both jumped off the moving train....ahhhh at last in Rabat!

now on to Marrakesh

Travel story #2

This time the train ride wasnt bad. It wasnt packed, in fact it was just Me, Austin, and two other woman in the train compartment. So half way during the train ride the woman next to me took out a small box, turned to me and then offered me a cookie....i was very excited, i took one and then she offered one to Austin...well this was the start of a beautiful friendship (especially when it involves delicious cookies). We all started talking and ended up talking the rest of the train ride. Her name was Rashida and she was on her way to go see her daughter in Marrakesh to have a celebration feast after their Religious month of Ramadan (this is a month long celebration including fasting for 30 days from sunrise to sunset). At the end of the train ride she asked if me and Austin would like to join her family for the celebration dinner....and we agreed!!

so the next afternoon we went to her daughter Wafa's house to was amazing... the food the people everything!!!

here were some tasty treats, little appetizer cookies yum!

now on to the main course....oh my gosh seriously this was the best couscous EVER!!!
Rashida just put it in the middle of the table and we all grabbed a spoon or some used their hands(which i guess is how your supposed to eat it) and just dug right in and started eating!

This family was so much fun we laughed so much and then all shared pictures and stories we had the best time and are so blessed to have met our new friends!
(I'm sad Rashidas husband isnt in the pic...he wasnt feeling well and had to lay down)

So Marrakesh has been my favorite city it is so crazy and there is so much to see i just loved it!! They have this huge market square where there are dancers, performers, snake charmers, food and then a huge market where they sell pottery, purses, sandals, spices and pretty much EVERYTHING!! it was so so cool and there are so many authentic Moroccan hand made goodies.

i would have taken more pics but you have to be careful because once you take a picture they freak out and demand money ha ha so you have to be sneaky :)

a picture of the square at night
One of the lantern shops in the market
some spices, pottery and sites (traditional Berber clothing)
the fun market ha ha also crazy...notice the bike riding through? this is NOT a street
more of the marketour hotel in Marrakesh has been my favorite so far! Here is a nice patio on the roof

our room and bathroom....yay our own shower AND toilet...i was so so excited!!

Marrakesh was so much fun and even better once we met Rashida and her amazing family!!!

now off to the Sahara Desert!!

Travel story #3
(by far my least favorite)

well we wanted to go to the Sahara but unfortunately there are no trains out there so we had to take a bus....a 14 HOUR BUS! here are some of the highlights...

1. it was incredibly old (and i mean GROSS and old and smelly!)
2. the driver tried to charge us to put our bags under the bus that we already payed for so we ended up cramming all of our stuff around our feet leaving no room to move at all
3. someone had smeared their lunch all over the seat in front of me so that is what i looked at the whole ride
4. They advertised that there is air conditioning...but what they really meant was that they would have one little window open
5. we were so so so SO stuffy and hot and uncomfortable and this was only 2 hours in
6. The guy sitting squished next to Austin smelled so badly and was passing gas non stop
7. We were on a paved road only 10 percent of the trip the other 90 percent was on dirt
8. The lady right by us decided that she wanted to blast the music from her cell phone and it was HORRIBLE music
9. The bus driver stopped the bus and started yelling at this old guy they got in a fight and he got kicked off the bus...what they fought about? i have no idea
10. We only stretched our feet once
11. Everytime we feel asleep we would hit a pot hole or something and we would smack our heads
12. and the craziest story for last....
so we were sitting there at one of the stops and this girl comes in and sits down in the seat right in front of me, then 5 seconds later this guy gets on the bus...takes the girls hand, leans in like he is going to talk to her and then spits in her FACE, then runs off the bus. Me and Austin were in complete shock!! I then offered her a wet wipe for her face. So then her friend comes to sit by her and then the man comes back onto the bus... well me and Austin both start yelling at him to get away from her, and Austin stands up to get him off the bus. One of the girls turns around and says no to us (telling us to stop) then the guy that spit on the girl turns to Austin and starts yelling at him in french we were like uhhh okkk??
Then he turned and got off the bus. We both just kind of sat there and were like what the heck just happened? So then the girl sitting in front of Austin turns around and thanks us profusely (in broken English) and continues to thank us by giving us jewelry and buying us snacks. What we ended up figuring out was that he was the girls ex husband and he just came on the bus and spit on her 16 year old sister...why? we dont know.....and why they thanked us a million times? we dont know either ha ha cause we didn't do anything but oh well!!
they offered for us to come and stay at their home but we had to continue on our trip.

well finally we arrived at Rasani, our destination at 5 in the morning...we got off at the scariest bus station ever and then had to walk into town to get a taxi to Merzouga ...but finally we were at our hotel...we took a nap and then headed into the Sahara for our trek....

was that crazy awful 14 hour bus ride worth it?? YES!!
because we got to do this...

camel ride into the Sahara
have a sweet guide
stay in a berber tent
look at the most unbelievable stars
eat a tasty meal
watch the sunrise over the sahara
and have one of the best experiences of all time!!

now its time to meet Bernard (my black camel), Sid (Austins brown camel) and Sayid (our guide)
by the way we named our camels ourselves :)
Well we hopped on our camels and were off for a trek into the Sahara!

view from my camelpicture i took of another group in front of us (taking pictures on a camel was very hard...ha ha so bumpy)

once we got to our camp it started to rain and there was a thunder cool!! it barely ever rains in the Sahara so that was neat....but it only lasted for 20 min...

our sweet tent!

me and Austin in our tent...with our little dinner table :)

Sayid and Austin chillin in the tent.....we loved our guide
the amazing meal that Sayid cooked for us...we had bread grapes and Tagine which is basically chicken and veggatables and spices steamed and cooked in this special was SO good!
and actually pretty romantic just me and Austin eating dinner in the middle of the Sahara ha ha on our tiny table!

next morning we woke up hiked to the top of a HUGE sand dune (i thought i was going to have a heart attack) and then watched this, the sun rise over dunes of Algeria! So beautiful.... (except the night before there wernt any clouds and it seriously looked like a scene from lion king i wanted to sing.... Nats ingonyama bagithi baba sithi uhhmm ingonyama...these are the begining lyrics to circle of life if anyone wanted to know)
...but of course i didnt take any pictures

just chillin on some sand dunes

back at the hotel eating breakfast

so that was our trip in Morocco!!! We are now back in Rabat and are heading back to Spain to grab the rest of our stuff and then off to ......Turkey!!!

thanks Morocco... for your craziness, for the sweet and generous people, for the awful bus rides, for the beautiful desert, for the annoying tourist hunters, for the disgusting hotels and for all the nutty stories it was a wonderful adventure!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Crazy MOROCCO!!!

Okay i have so much to share about Morocco...we are still here and i love it!! ha ha it started out a little crazy but just keeps getting better and better!!
this is how our trip began...
We left spain at 12 at night took a 6 hour bus then walked to a train at 7 in the morning took the train till 12 pm then hopped on a ferry to Tangier at was a long day but we FINALLY arrived in Morocco

Austins friend he made on the ferry....(this guy thought at first that Austin was Alexander Hleb the soccer player)

on the ferry and then our first view of Morocco...

once we were off the ferry we just wanted to find a place and sleep....duh duh DUH this was the place we ended up finding....oh my gosh yuk!!! I was so upset about the bathroom i did NOT shower even though i felt extremely dirty!

So the next morning we headed off to Rabat...i liked it much better

one of the Crazy markets in Rabat
our second hotel in Morocco....this was better....
here was our room....much cleaner...but had a weird smellOn to Exploring Rabat....

We walked up to the Kasbah de Oudaias...then right behind it are these old houses over looking the water...i loved this place and all its cool blue and white buildings, and winding side streets
after roaming the blue and white town you ended up here over looking the ocean it was so pretty...ha ha and so windy
next we went to explore an old grave was sooo cool and so so huge!!

the streets at night
Here are some of my favorite pics of Rabat....

there is so much more to tell...but i will save that for the next post

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Its a bird, Its a plane...

Gonzo the prince....and now THE HERO!!!

I mean literally Gonzo is a hero. So here is a crazy story for all of you, and let me just tell you i wish you were all there cause it was WAY better in person!

and so the story begins....

So on our first day in Madrid we decided to do a little sightseeing. We headed over to a place called Plaza Colon, where there are these huge rocks everywhere. Well we decided to take some pics.....

Gonzo was setting up the tripod and Austin was filming, and while all of this was happening I set down my purse and camera next to me. Well we took some pics, then I went to grab my camera to take some too purse and camera are GONE!! Yes, that is right, GONE!! Instantly my heart jumps into my throat. I look up and both Austin and Gonzo are talking to a guy who is pointing up the street (and telling them in spanish that someone just took my camera and purse and left) Well I jump off the stoop and just start running...for who, I don't even know, I just am so upset I don't know what else to do.
While I'm running, two people intercept me and start talking to me in spanish (way too fast) and keep pointing to the left.... I'm frantic cause I don't know what they are saying to me.
Well I then look to my right and I see Gonzo beating this guy up, holding him in a head lock, giving him a few face punches, and then giving him a good kick. The guy struggles and starts to run away....and all I can think is... this guy isn't holding anything...who the heck is Gonzo beating up?? So I run back to get the stuff that we left over by the rock (that this guy was watching for us).
Austin runs up and I tell him that these two people are pointing up the street, so he hands me a backpack and Gonzo's camera and takes off in that direction.

I'm still in a panic and Gonzo comes running up all bloody and hurt and he is like "do you have your purse??"
I'm like..."NO"
he says "look in the backpack is it all there? "
At this moment I realize I'm holding a backpack that doesn't belong to any of us...I set it down, zip it open....and there it all is!!! my purse and my camera!!! now that you heard everything from my point of view...let me just tell you what REALLY happened (the part I didn't see).

After the guy pointed that someone took my stuff....Gonzo just ran around the rock looking for the guy. Apparently the thief took my stuff and shoved it in his backpack. Gonzo knew immediately and ran up behind the guy, tripped him, then took the backpack from him. He then told him he was taking him to the police and the guy started to get away. So Gonzo hands the back pack over to Austin and then goes running after the thief. That is where I saw him...beating up a guy that was empty handed.
Meanwhile (the thief's friends) were telling me to run in the opposite direction giving him time to get away.... which is where Austin started running..

Ha ha but little did we know was that Gonzo had already retrieved my stuff and was trying to take the thief to the police!!!

Honestly I don't know what we would have done if Gonzo wasn't there. First off I would have been looking for a guy holding a purse, and never would have looked for a guy with a backpack. Plus me and Austin were looking in the opposite direction!!!

So the story ends so happily!! I got my stuff back!! Gonzo honestly saved the day....I would be without my camera, wallet, i-touch, money, and left with a headache of problems to deal with!

here are some of Gonzo's battle wounds

ha ha this shirt used to be white....THANK YOU GONZO!!!!!!