I don’t remember a whole lot about my first trip to Morocco. It was in 2005, I was living in Holland, and my friend Megan and I decided to go adventuring. In fact, I recall so little that I had to Google image where we’d been just to find out the names of places. So much for my elephant memory.
Here’s what I do remember: We were a group of six tourists—us two American girls, a young lovey-dovey couple from England and two mobsters from Sardinia (no, really). En route to Dades Gorges, we stopped at a village of adobe-style houses.
Our guide, who we had found amid the throngs of tour companies in Marrakech, led us like sheep along the dirt paths, as the villagers stopped to stare at us as if the circus had come to town.
We also saw a weaving demonstration by a local artisan. And then were hounded to buy carpets. Let’s just say I’m weak-willed, and saying “no” to anything is not my strong suit. Even if it later meant hours lost looking for a post office to pay way too much money to ship our rugs (yes, plural) back to the United States. One day, I’ll learn.
From there, we continued on into the Gorges, which might have been one of the more frightening roads I’ve ever been on.
The terrain was much like the American Southwest. We felt so very small, particularly surrounding by canyon and the vastness of Morocco’s rural regions.
And then we were approached by children panhandlers—one of the saddest parts of Morocco, I think—even miles from any city, and it was time to move on.