Three weeks in Morocco has been a great experience for me. But I also have mix feeling for this wonderful land.
As a woman solo traveler, I have been to some so called ‘dangerous’ place such as India. Except for a little bit uncomfortable feeling of being stared as an object all the time, I found it totally fine to travel by myself.
I took the boat from Spain to Tangier and then shared a taxi with a local guy. He was staring at me and laughing. Since he could not speak English, the driver translated it for me that he thought I’m brave to travel here alone. Then I laughed back and said’ why not’. But that did give extra cautiousness to me during the trip.
Only two-hour boat ride makes such a big difference both in culture and environment. Tangier is a nice small seaside city, I checked in at night and was about to head out for dinner, then the owner of the hotel told me that I had better go out with some people living here together, better for my safety.
Almost every hotels and home stays in Morocco have this kind of terrace for people to hang out at night and make friends since there is really not much to do, and also alcohol is forbidden in the country especially in the old medina. I did meet so many nice people on these magical terraces. I like to hear the life stories of the other traveler, what made them keep hitting the road? What do they think is the definition of freedom? Everyone has their own worldview, and I’m always fascinated by their stories.
After a short stay in Tangier, I packed my luggage and keep on moving to Chefchaouene which is my favorite town in Morocco, it’s a great place for photography since everything is in blue, it’s like a fairytale land. Walking in the medina usually makes you lost, but that’s also a fun part of traveling here. I like to wander around every small lane, intentionally get lost, to discover something new.
I met a lot of nice friends there, we talked, drank, played poker and games every night on this wonderful terrace.
No matter how much you love a place, travel is always about meeting and letting go, after 5 wonderful days there, I hit the road again and arrived in Fes.
Fes is famous for their leather and metal making skills. I visited this tannery which has been lasted for thousand years passing by generations.
And also it has the biggest medina in Morocco, climbed up the hill and watch the sunset could be a wonderful experience there, don’t miss it.
I only stayed in Casablanca for 2 days just to visit the biggest Mosque here.
Everyone recommended this small seaside town called Essaouira to me, telling me that it’s a good place to take a break and rest for my later desert trip. It’s late autumn when I was there so not suitable for getting into the water, but just by staying on the beach, having a coffee and reading would be great experience here.
People here are living on fishing, the pier is always busy with fisherman and trading, and also these cute seagulls. The strong smell of the fish attracted almost all the nearby seagulls here, quite amazing view.
My last stop before Sahara is Marrakech, it’s a very busy city especially the square, people there are always shouting or having their ‘secret meetings” there.
Travel is walking into other people’s life and then walk out with a new world view. I like to talk with local people to know how they live, how they perceive the world.
I met this old lady in Chefchaoune, I was asking her a favor for taking a picture for me, I taught her how to use the camera, and after she heard the shutter sound when she click the button, she was like a little girl, couldn’t stop laughing, she said she loved it and want to take more pictures. So she took me to her garden, and tried to take more pictures of me, these are the pictures.
She told me she got married at very young age, and then she is a housewife until now. She asked me how it looks like outside of Morocco, she seems really interested in photos and traveling. Her eyes were shining when I told her all the places I’ve been to and showed her the pictures. I gave her a big hug when we said goodbye, and when I watched her leaving, I start to think how lucky I’m to be able to do what I like while there are still some people could not pursue their dreams, or even dare to find out what their dream is.
Another impressive conversation came from a Moroccan man. I was wandering with my friend in Chefchaouene and met this man who has a carpet shop in the middle of the street. He invited us in and started to use his sales skill on us. After a while, he said that he wants us to be his second wife (It’s legal to have several wives in Morocco). I knew he was just joking but got a bit annoyed just because the tradition, and how man could propose this easily to a woman which shows no respect to woman. I wouldn’t say I’m feminist, but I grew up in a society woman and man has equal chances and in Shanghai sometimes woman overpower men.
He said that they treated women very well by the fact that the first wife has to agree on the second wife. I didn’t show that I’m annoyed at that time but telling him that’ if I get my first husband, I will consider him to be my second one.’ Just to show him what is equality. Then he suddenly became serious saying that’ woman can’t marry two men.’
At that time, I feel really lucky to be able to have equal chances with men in this modern time.
So when you complained about your life and work, think about those people, at least you have the ability to purchase a ticket and leave all the things you don’t like for couple days. People tend to ignore what they already had, and always get jealous of the things they couldn’t have. Why not stop and list the things you already have, you have a healthy body, you have loving parents, you have a place to sleep, food to eat and chance to travel. Why are you still complaining?
So, next time, when you feel unhappy, get a paper and a pen, write down the things you appreciate in your life, then happiness will find its way to you!