Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hammam and Last Days in Morocco

I went back to Marrakech to spend a couple more nights. The weather is warmer and sunnier there, so I thought it would be fun to go back. It was a lot of fun. I met a few nice people at the market and we ended up spending the rest of the time together. There was a nice couple from Poland on break from school. They had been to Agadir and Essaouira before spending two nights in Marrakech. Next time, I need to go to these cities. They are beautiful and warm all year round. Marrakech is pretty great, too. The market at night is wonderful, with all the lights and the food cooking. We shopped around a little and I got a couple scarves and a tunic. Then we had some traditional Moroccan soup at one of the food stands. We listened to some good drum music and then after being hassled for money for watching, we decided to call it a night. It is wonderful meeting new people and spending time getting to know them and their culture. I hope one day I will make it to Poland and stay with them. For the last day I had in Morocco, Zineb and I went to hammam. Hammam is almost like a spa or just a bath house. But I felt like it was a spa and I was getting excellent treatment. You go into this room, in your underwear, lay out a mat and rub this brown gooey soap they give you into your skin. Then an old lady comes in and takes this scrub brush (everyone brings their own) and scrubs you: back, side, front, side. She basically is tearing off a couple layers of skin, she scrubs so hard. But it certainly gets you clean. Then you rinse off, wash your hair and such. There are dozens of buckets of warm water all around to use. It is a nice experience. I felt so clean. Afterwards, we went to get our hair dried and manicures. I know, not really a typical Sara thing to do, but it was fun to feel a little pampered. It was a nice way to spend my last day. The hammam is so relaxing and wonderful. It is really too bad they don't have them in the Western parts of the world. My trip to Morocco is over, sadly. However, I know I will come back, and next time I will bring a travel friend so I can feel more free to do all the amazing things there are to do in Morocco (backpacking in the Rif mountains, riding camels in the desert, etc). I am in Paris for one night before I head back to Sweden. I am staying with some old campers from the camp I used to work at (Camp Celo). It's kind of nice knowing people in different countries. It makes finding accommodations a lot easier. Hopefully, I will find a way to continue to stay in Europe (job, work permit, etc), we'll see!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Weekend in Marrakech

I have finished my training course in France. I got my certificate and then left for Morocco. I spent all day traveling on various trains and a plane, but finally got here at around 12:30am yesterday morning or Friday night. It was wonderful to see Zineb and her family again. Rahal, her son, is talking now and is as wild and crazy as he was last summer. We spent the day relaxing by the pool and having tea. Later we went to the market. It is a huge and busy place. There are so many sounds and smells, it is unbelievable. There are the cobra tamers, the drummers, cymbals, motorbikes, and at least 7 different languages that you can hear just walking around. The smells are amazing. There are so many spices and people cooking different things. My favorite is the smell of fresh orange juice when we get near to a juice stand. We walked around the market then went to a restaurant on the roof to look over the marketplace and have some pizza. It was a wonderful evening. Tomorrow we will go earlier to the market when it is not so crowded and maybe do some real shopping. There are so many beautiful and colorful things. I love everything here! I am looking forward to spending the next 11 days drinking Moroccan tea, eating Moroccan food, and having fun with my Moroccan family.