Mustapha’s Harem

So on Friday night, last night, we met our group at the hotel at 6pm to get the down and dirty from our trip leader, Mustapha. He is a lovely man. Native Berber from the desert. In his younger years his family moved to different oasis’ when their situation improved and they still live there. Mustapha lives in Marrakech and leads trips for Intrepid. He’s been on time and on top of stuff til now. So far so good. I think we will get along fine. 
Our trip crosses other trips. The only ones in our current group that are going to be together for the entire 18 days are Laura, Mustapha, me and an Aussie women from Perth, Kerry. Our group is entirely women. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at first because testosterone is a good thing in the right proportions. We all had dinner together last night and I really like the ladies that we are with and I think we are going to have a great time. We will meet new people in Chefchaouen and lose everyone else only to pick up new friends for the last 9 days of the trip. I think I like that too. 
The group consists of 2 ladies who are cousins. They are Sue. (Both). From Australia and travelling with their friend Jen. Also from Australia. They have been travelling around Spain and now this. Also hailing from the land down under are Jane and Sue. They are travelling together with Jenny. All a bit older than I. The last girl from Oz is Christina from Sydney. She’s really cool too and brings a younger face to the crowd. From the US are Tania, a yoga instructor from New Mexico who is cool as a cucumber and Megan from Ohio as well. Its a good group. 

The neat thing about travellers is that we are all like minded. You don’t end up on an Intrepid tour if you need 5 stars and room service. Its pretty basic and the whole point of the adventure is to get off the traditional “tour” route and get into the local culture. We will be purposefully kept away from frisbee service in chain hotels and put into family run riads and introduced to local craftsmen. What I’m trying to see here is that we have all travelled and we are all globally curious so conversation comes easily and no one is freaking out because there aren’t hairdryers in the room. 

So we leave Casablanca and get on with the trip. Casa is apparently not a good indication of the rest of the country because it is big (5 million), dirty, industrial for the most part, and crazy. (Ive already mentioned the honking). However, its all we know of Morocco so far and I have really really enjoyed my time in Casablanca, thanks in large part to our wonderful time spent with Jen. So its with sadness that we leave this place to possibly never return. Bye Casablanca! 

Last night we stayed in a modest 2 star hotel called the Hotel Maamoura. It was clean, relatviely quiet, and had good wifi in the rooms. We both watched Downton Abbey last night on our devices with no problems (I have more trouble in Canada) (Oh look, a chance to say f*ck you Rogers, because that can never be said enough). 

While we were getting settled and I was trying to plug in my goods, we found the only outlet was about 4 fft up the wall and nowhere near the beds. Fortunately I brought a long ass USB hub that has this crazy cord on it and 4 ports for exactly that situation. We were both able to charge stuff overnight and still have the phones near enough at hand to use the alarms effectively. 

However, when we first arrived I really wanted to charge my external battery pack (booster for the iPhone) and the cord was entirely too short. I suggested we call down to the desk and ask them to send up a midget to hold it while we went for dinner. However, Laura told me that midgets are in high demand and can be very tempermental here, so we stacked up tables instead. McGiver would have been proud. 

Its a beautiful day and after an hour in second class on a lovely train we will arrive in Rabat. Its the political capital. We stay there for lunch and then move on to Moulay Idriss where we will spend the night. I think tomorrow we are in Meknes. This is a town that is known for its jewelry artisans so I am going to wager at least 10 dh that I will be buying a silver ring. Because that, my friends, is what I do. 

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