As the Coronavirus goes from a virus that attacked a single city to spreading through a cluster of countries to a full-blown worldwide pandemic, we could all use some variety in our newsfeed as we hunker down into the season of physical distancing and fight this common enemy together. Today, I would like to share with you my recent trip to Morocco weeks before they shutdown their borders.
Of the five countries (Malawi, Qatar, Greece, Morocco, and Kenya) I went to during this previous part work and part personal trip adventure, Morocco was by far my favorite. I was actually really nervous about going to Morocco because several Greeks I met in Athens had very negative things to say about the Moroccans. They said the Moroccans cannot be trusted and that they steal so be extra careful when I am traveling around that country. They also worried that I was going there all by myself.
It didn't help that back in my hostel I was sharing a room with a Moroccan refugee who also had very negative things to say about Morocco. She could not sustain her livelihood in Morocco because it was impossible to find a job. Months before I met her, she had been locked up in jail in Greece. Once she came out, she moved to the hostel in order to complete paperwork to get asylum status in that country. She said only the King is living well and have everything he needs in Morocco.
I am happy to share that Morocco was much safer and more fun than how it had been introduced to me. The people were so overwhelmingly hospitable and warm. The deep sense of respect they show towards one another was heartwarming as well. You can tell by their little gestures in acknowledging one another and the very French way they greet one another that they held each other in high regard. Morocco was a French Protectorate in the 1900s for nearly half a century so there is a lot of French influence in that country. I found it especially cute seeing Moroccan men kiss each other on either cheeks in that very French way.
One thing that did surprise me was how much western food they served over there. Pizza, sandwiches, and pasta was something one can easily find meandering around the streets of Marrakesh and Casa Blanca. So friends, don't worry about finding European/western food in Morocco because it's everywhere...or, at least, it felt like it!
Even though I was only in Morocco for four days, I covered a lot of mileage. I went from Casa Blanca (their biggest city) to Marrakesh (perhaps their most touristy city) to a "blue city" way up in the mountains near Tangier called Chefchaouen. Chefchaouen is unique because of their vibrant blue color buildings. I absolutely loved the people, the food, and the culture in Morocco. It is definitely a country I want to go back to someday.
As for safety and theft, use common sense, keep your valuables in sight, and you’ll be just fine!