Day 2: Morocco

Hi Everyone

Hopefully everyone has gotten Morocco Day #1. I am trying to sort the problem out from Morocco with my web designer and I am sure the problem will be fixed shortly. She is great and I love working with her.

I fell asleep so fast last night. The bed is so comfortable and I had only slept about two hours coming here. Was awoken at 7:15 by a wake up call. We immediately got dressed and went downstairs for our first Moroccan breakfast. The coffee did not disappoint. Was great. Similar to Turkish coffee, but not as dense. The fruits were fantastic. Dates and prunes together with fresh eggs. Olivia sampled the many varieties of cakes, cookies and pastries.

We all boarded a fifty passenger bus and there are only twenty one on the tour. Nice and comfortable, Can really stretch out. Rabat is on the Atlantic Ocean and quite beautiful. There are lots of ancient gates and walls all around a beautiful harbor. The fortress walls are made of hard sand mud collected from the Sahara and very well preserved. We first stopped at the entrance to the Royal Palace. Before I forget, some brief facts about Morocco. There are three languages spoken in Morocco. French, Arabic and Berber are the three languages. Berber is an ancient language and strange looking when you see it in print. All signs are in one or more of these languages. An average Morocco wage earner earns around $850 per month. So far, certainly not a third world country. There is 30% illiteracy. Now school is mandatory until the age of 16. Prior to mandatory schooling, most of the women did not attend school. The Moroccan society used to be male dominated, but that is rapidly changing.There are 60 women members of a 360 Parliament. We saw some women wearing Burkas, but that was few and far between. The population is about 33 million. Most of the people live west of the Atlas Mountains and six families, at different times, have ruled the Country for over the last thousand years. There is a Prime Minister who is elected, but the monarchy has power, unlike the British monarchy. You would not think you were in an Arabic country except for the hearing of the Call to Prayers. No one stopped to pray. There was a huge door at the entrance to the Royal Palace. The doors are beautiful. They are made of wood and very well preserved. There was a huge hard clay gate near the entrance that looked like it was used to be used as a tributary or a way to circulate and transport water around town. Rabat is very clean. I did not see any homeless nor garbage. The harbor is magnificent. The weather is so beautiful. It is cold during the morning and evening and nice and warm during the day with no humidity. Perfect. A/C not needed. The Royal Palace complex is beautiful and large. We drove past the school for the two children of the current Monarch. His name is Mohammed VI. The royal children go to school with the smartest students from each of the twelve provinces of Morocco.

It was then onto Hassan Tower. Hassan Tower is part of an unfinished mosque started by a 12th century caliph. There was a huge mausoleum that contained the casket of Mohammed VI’s grandfather. A holy man was sitting next to the stone casket praying. Beautiful looking government soldiers or guards were standing around. There were also guards on horseback at the entrance. How the horses did not misbehave or appear nervous with so many people around, was quite amazing.

Our next stop was the “Kasbah of the Udayas”. This is a beautiful fortress like city on the Atlantic. There were lots of non Roman ruins and beautiful gardens. The Moroccan people love cats. Lots of them roam the sites and are well fed and taken care of. The streets of the Kasbah were very narrow and colorful. Reminded me of the streets on the Greek island of Santorini. We finally made our way to a viewpoint overlooking the harbor. There were vendors selling tea in glasses and Moroccan among cookies. When you looked down you saw people swimming and lots of small fishing boats.

Our final stop before lunch was to “Chellah”. “Chellah” is an ancient Roman outpost. There are lots of large swan like birds all over making clicking noises. The birds were majestic and they are considered to be sacred.

Now for lunch. We went to the harbor to a beautiful restaurant on the harbor facing large boats. The fish was good and I had tow more cups of great coffee.

Back to our great hotel for some R&R. Worked out and then took a long nap in the hot non humid sun. So refreshing. The sun felt like it was hugging me.

Dinner was on our own. We ate at the bar in the hotel. I had one of the best meals I ever had. The Moroccan salad was so good. I then had beef tagine. It is like a stew and hot. Beef, vegetables, olives all served in a large clay pot.

Onto tomorrow. We travel to Fez and away from the Atlantic. Fez is the largest city in the Atlas Mountains. Should be quite amazing.