I remember being extremely pumped to be going to Morocco, I didn’t research anything, or looked up photos, I just went. Also, maybe because that was my first time completely on my own.
Somewhere in the Sahara
A family hosted me for 5 days in Marrakesh, they even picked me up on the airport. No one spoke English, so I had to rely on my high school French for everything plus learn a few arabic words on the go.
They made me a bed in the living room, on a couch but it was extremely comfortable. Also, in that living room we would have our meals, the whole family around a tiny table, which was awesome.
Since I had done 0 research I got a couple shockers on the first day.
First, I wanted to shower and my hosts boiled a pan of hot water, gave me a bucket and a sponge and said “Yallah” haha. The last time I showered in a bucket I was too young to do it by myself probably, 3 or 4 years old, so. That was something I hadn’t mastered. It was interesting to say the very least, also there was no toilet but a whole on the ground, yup.
The third one was that family is super important for them therefore, you can get married and have kids but you’re gonna be living with your family (not everyone but most traditional families) so I was staying in a house with about 10 people and sharing the living room with a couple of them.
No one uses utensils or plates to eat. You share a big plate of food in the middle of the table and everyone digs in with their hands or a piece of bread and the mint tea is always there, which was surprisingly addictive and sweet. Which became natural later but at first was a big strange thing, also the 5 prayers a day no matter where you are. That was an interesting and mind blowing thing to watch, specially the 5 am ones.
My stay was short but the impression that family left on me lasted all these years.
Specially the fact that they weren’t rich but they let a stranger come into their house and eat their food, stay in their living room, use their water and electricity. That was a big deal for me, and made me feel super grateful.
I would be taken everywhere to eat, to shop, to explore, even went to a club and a hookah bar one day, without realizing that most women out at the club were there to “work” and most men were sitting with their other male friends. I don’t remember seeing a group of girls out having fun with their girlfriends. A lot of things that were hard to understand at first.
I left Marrakesh with a promise that I would come back, but cities were never my thing. I found a Canadian single mom on workaday who needed help with her home-schooled son a few hours away from Marrakesh. I packed my stuff, and took the bus to my next stop: Essaouira.
Continues next Wednesday.