In 2005, the year I met SVV, my friend Megan and I were studying in Holland. Megan, daughter of an Air Force officer, had lived all over Europe growing up, and I had previously lived in Scotland and traveled much of Western Europe, so when our fall break rolled around, we wanted to do something different. And that’s how we came to find ourselves in Morocco.
We invited SVV to go along, but he declined our offer and went to Berlin and Prague instead. I’m pretty sure he still regrets that decision. It’s probably a good thing, though, as we wouldn’t have had room for him in any of our $5-a-night hotel rooms. (Our relationship might not have survived such cramped quarters!)
We didn’t even have a bathroom; we had to bathe in a cold water bucket in a closet located down the hall.
As was customary back then, we had a pretty aggressive itinerary that covered Marrakesh, the Sahara, Fes, Chefchaouen, Tangier and several towns in between. If I were to do it all over again—when I do it all over again—I’ll spend a solid chunk of time in Marrakesh, rather than a mere four days, and travel Morocco a bit more slowly.
Whirlwind trip or not, we had a blast. Our days were spent perusing the souks, wondering how we could possibly ship back containers of Moroccan furniture to the States, where neither of us had an address or permanent home. We also got suckered into visiting (and eventually buying from) a number of carpet shops.
We drank a lot of mint tea. As in, every time we had a free moment, one of us would look at the other with a knowing glance—“MINT TEA?”—and off to a cafe we would go. And we took silly photos like this one when we were inebriated by the mint tea.
We met locals who took an interest in us (“how many camels for this one?”—little did they know the camel would become my spirit animal) and sought to teach us basic Arabic.
We visited mosques. Lots of them. What we did not do, unfortunately, is take many pictures (I blame my shoddy Nikon Coolpix, which couldn’t take a steady shot to save its short life). All the more reason to go back—and soon.
We took a horse-and-carriage ride around the city, which was pretty humorous, as when I think horse-and-carriage, visions of a chilly ride through Central Park come to mind—or maybe scenes from a Jane Austen novel—but never Morocco.
Marrakech is a magical city and one deserving of more time and attention than we could give it. I just hope I get the opportunity to go back and right all our wrongs.