229: Top Ten Reasons to VISIT Morocco

Morocco is a great country to visit. Of all the Islamic countries, I would hazard a guess that Morocco is one the most tolerant of other views, and other people. There are many reasons to visit the place, the great people being one of them. However, lots of places have great people. Here are ten excellent ones that Morocco has listed here:

1. Unesco World Heritage sites: Meknes, Fes medina and Volubilis. All three of these sites are within an hour’s drive of each other. the entire CITY of Meknes is a heritage site, and the medina is a treat, and not as large as the one in Fes, so you might be able to navigate it without a guide. The medina in Fes is HUGE – do not wander in it without taking notes about which turns you make, or you’ll be lost for days. Get a guide. And Volubilis? The Roman ruins? A great treat, worth seeing! Gorgeous mosaic floors in the Roman villas there.

2. Fossils. Morocco is blessed with a great selection and variety of fossils in matrix. You can get fossils individually, or get them in slabs for your custom bath, get sinks made of fossils in matrix – tables…you name it. Wow.

3. Beach. Morocco has lots of beaches – often, miles and miles of beach coastline that is virtually deserted – yours and yours alone. Plus, in the winter, storms in the Atlantic make for great surfing on the west coast, and Morocco also fronts the Mediterranean in the north, so calmer surf prevails there.

4. Desert. Morocco borders the Sahara desert on its eastern border, and you can visit the great sand dunes there in comfort, because there are riads (hotels) there that cater to desert visitors in style. Get a traditional meal, and be serenaded by Berber tribesmen in traditional constume, for an unforgettable dining occasion – plus sleep in the desert dunes in an authentic Berber tent!! Ride a camel – but watch out for the camel’s ‘dates’ in the sand. Those are not really dates…..

5. Mountains, including skiing, in AFRICA. No kidding. Within an hour’s drive of destinations in number one is Ifrane, a lovely little ski resort town in the Middle Atlas Mountains. Skiing in Africa. Who’d a thunk it?

6. Rugs. Morocco’s tribal women make gorgeous hand-made rugs – and you can purchase them for very little money. Get several – they are so lovely I use them for wall hangings.

7. Souks. These wonderful, open-air flea marker, farmer’s market, yard sale events are held once a week in most villages, and if you see one – stop and shop. They have everything under the sun, and all at great prices if you can haggle. It you can’t haggle, the prices are usually not too bad, but take a friend who likes haggling, and you’ll do a lot better, especially if the friend speaks French or Arabic.

8. Marrakech and Casablanca. Just the names of those fabulous cities evoke romance. Everyone should visit both at some point during their lifetimes. No regrets – add it to your bucket list right now.

9. Essaouria’s Genoche Music festival, an annual event, is only one international arts and music festival held in Morocco – but Essaouria is on the coast, and you can have a lovely beach vacation, at the same time!

10 and last, but not least, argan oil and gorgeous, silky caftans to show off your beautiful, nourished skin in. Argan oil is made in Morocco, among other places, and it is very reasonably priced there. Once you use it so smooth and soften your skin, you can deck yourself out in one of Morocco’s elegant feminine fashions: the caftan. A caftan is an indoor garment, rather like a set of lounging pajamas, in silky, satiny, colorful fabrics that are embellished with embroidery, beads, sequins, jewels and more. They are absolutely stunning – and so will you be wearing one!!


226: Run of Bad Luck

I always think that things go fairly well for people who are trying very hard to do the right things and live lives that do not harm others. I think that when things don’t go well, it means you have not been doing the right things. You need to search and see where you need to improve. Now, I know that is not true in every case – of course it isn’t. However, for me, usually when things don’t go well it actually is something I’ve done or contributed to – not every time, true, but usually…..

I think there is the big guy sitting up there in Heaven, looking down on us creatures who are mostly making mistakes with our lives, decisions and actions, and I think usually he lets the natural consequences of our foolish actions just….happen. Sometimes, for reasons I don’t understand, he does intervene – on both the good and the not-so-good side of things. Sometimes he lets things happen because we need to learn that it is not smart to fool with Mother Nature: don’t poke sticks at grizzly bears. Dumb ways to die.

Sometimes he steps in and saves us because there are still things we are supposed to do with our lives. I woke up on the beach getting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from a total stranger when I was about eight years old, after I had been sucked under by an undertow at the Bahia Honda bridge on the Florida Keys. I still don’t know who the man was who saved me, but I owe him a lifetime of gratitude that I did not die that day. I don’t think I even said ‘thank you’ when I came to!

At any rate, my recent run of poor luck leaves me some reflective opportunity about my recent motivations – whether I have been working for the good or for other nefarious purposes. Have I fallen short somewhere?

194: Portugal at Christmas

Portugal 057I was told that Portugal was inexpensive. NOT. Morocco is inexpensive. Portugal is trying to even up their national debt on the fees they are charging me for my personal Christmas holiday. Seriously. Thank God for credit cards, or I would have already been sunk far, far, far out of sight. Word to the wise: Pick some place OTHER than Albuefiera, Portugal for a holiday. Apparently a LOT of Britons vacation here, to the point that nearly every sign posted here is in both Purtugese and English. It does assist us Americans in getting around somewhat, but I’d rather they lose the English and drop the prices. By HALF. I can figure out the Portugese, really.

We are at a resort on Ouro Beach. This place is visited by a lot of Brits, who apparently are under the impression that it is elegant, and expensive, and worth it. Rot. They CHARGE for every freaking little thing here. You cannot swim in the pool without a “bathing cap” (is this the twenty-first century YET?) and flippies, which they sell, since they don’t tell you you have to have these supplies in advance, and NOBODY owns a swim cap who is under the age of ninety-eight. No, ninety-nine. The hot tub costs. The sauna costs. The workout room costs. The only thing that does not cost is staying in your own room and entertaining yourself – oh, wait…..they discourage that because the beds – all SEVEN of them in the room we have – are all singles. Yep. Every stinking one. Singles. Like married people don’t conjugate, and I am not discussing verbs. The Internet wi-fi, advertised as free, is free only in the lobby, and streams at the rate of .005 kilobotes per hour. It took wordpress almost 15 minutes to load for me to write this rant. If you want Internet in your room, it’s 20 Euros – oh, wait….the room we are in (out past east bumblefreak) doesn’t have it yet, so we have to go to the lobby even if we pay. Plus, the TV channels are set up so there are no sports: you must go to the bar and buy something (at least a drink) to watch the only TV with sports anywhere around. Their restaurant advertised specials on meals for us *half board for about 200 Euros each* for weeks, by e-mail, before we arrived here, which should have been a clue.

To be fair, the beach is nice. But, we are from Georgia, in the US, only a hundred miles from Florida. We have warm. This is Portugal, approximately on a lattitude equal to NEW FREAKING YORK. It is not warm here, even if Brits are getting in the freezing Atlantic, anyway. I remember watching Canadians and other aliens from up north come to the Florida Keys in December and January and get in the surf there, too, while I watched them wearing a sweater and long pants, shaking my head in disbelief. This behavior is not inspiring me to visit countries any further north. It can’t be any better up there, if they are here, thinking this is warm.

Ah, well. I wanted to see Portugal. Check that off the list as done and finished.

189: Falling out before a big vacation

I have a gift. It is not a present, it is an annoying tendency to do something that is problematic. I am gifted in doing it repeatedly, despite my best efforts in overcoming this habit, this tendency, this annoying gift. This gift is falling out with my significant other right before a major, hugemongous vacation (usually one in another freaking COUNTRY), after reservation accommodation bookings have been made and paid for, when rental car deposits have been made and paid, when ferry/airplane/train tickets are reserved and purchased. Sometimes I do it even when the dad-gum BAGS are packed and we are standing in the ding-dong driveway, loading up the car to go. For the LOVE of GOD. Seriously. I am an idjit.

This should be an eagerly anticipated treat, an event I have looked forward to for MONTHS since I booked it last summer. It is not like I don’t WANT to enjoy a week-long vacation in Portugal! On the beach! In a luxurious resort! And when I say falling out, I do not mean a little spat over who forgot to bring the charger for the camera batteries – oh, no. We don’t even bother to argue over that sort of inconsequential crap. No, I pick departure day for a big trip to have issues about even staying freaking MARRIED, for Cripe’s Sake. It’s embarrassing.

At least this time, I did it a week in advance. Maybe there is time to make up before we are due to depart. Sheesh. SUCH a drama queen.