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Fearless Backpacking in Morocco

Sep 4

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9/4/2010 12:54 PM  RssIcon

 Fearless Backpacking in Morocco by John Paul Sipin De Guzman

I just received my summer bonus from my company and virtually had no idea where to go and what to do. My habit is always to think where to backpack whenever I have money to escape from the stress of work. Upon my way home, I came across a travel agency with a big poster advertising Morocco. The poster might have been there for quite some time but never noticed maybe because I was too preoccupied by work. It was the best timing indeed to notice the advertisement. As an adventurer, I excitedly entered the travel agency office and inquired what Morocco has to offer. The lady was doubly excited than I am and kept talking and talking, and before I knew it I already bought the package she offered. I booked a 3-week customized package trip to Morocco good for ‘one’ person only. Can you guess who is the lucky ‘one’ person?
Next day in the office, I announced to everyone that I am going to backpack around Morocco. The initial reaction from my officemates was ‘Are you crazy? It’s very dangerous there.” I didn’t mind their comments because I think people from other parts of the world also have impression about the dangers when visiting the Philippines which I think is overly exaggerated as I feel perfectly fine here. In short, I packed my bag and headed to Morocco.
After almost 24 hours of travelling, the Rabat sunrise greeted me with a beautiful smile. Since I’m spending a few weeks to explore the country, I learned some basic phrases in Arabic and French beforehand. Embarrassingly enough, the taxi driver didn’t understand a word because of my wrong pronunciation and accent. Oh well, it was an experience worth telling.
Rabat is indeed a picturesque city. I was totally amazed with the trees and flowers all around the city. The varieties of the trees and flowers in Rabat are almost non-existent in my country. Of course I had my picture at the Gate of the Ambassadors and Oudaias Kasbah Gate. The Mohammed V Mausoleum displaying its Moroccan architecture likewise amazed my innocent eyes. I as well checked out the Mamora forest. I also had a relaxing moment at a beach nearby. Rabat indeed set my mood to explore more of Morocco in the next 2 weeks.
Next stop – Fès. Another week of exploring an unfamiliar place has never been this fun. Because history tickles my fancy, Fès never disappointed me. Nejjarine Square, Al-Andalus,and the Royal Palace made me posed for one photo after another. Al-Qarawiyin University which I learned is older than Oxford University has also very unique architecture. While strolling around the old part of the city, my attention was on the cheap and unique goods sold at the bazaars that after a bagful of shopping I lost my way and end up being at the same place for at least an hour. It was another awesome experience.
3rd stop – Tangier. On my third week, I already quite used to Morocco and assumed that Tangier would be pretty much the same from the places I’ve been to. Guess what? I was wrong. Tangier is a multicultural city. I was surprised that signs are written in three languages. Most of the cities in my country only use one language in signs so it was another experience. Meanwhile, Mendoubia Gardens, Sidi Bounabib, Moulay Ismail Mosque, and Forbes Musuem did not escape from the lens of my camera.
Before I left, I still managed to play golf in Rabat although I don’t know how to strike the golf ball. I just feel curious about it because I’ve heard that golf courses in Morocco are very popular. I tried it for the sake of boasting to my friends and colleagues that I played golf in one of the popular golf courses in the world.
Every time I go abroad, I make sure that I stay at least one week in every city because I want to observe the way of life and culture of the local people to better understand them. 3 weeks gone so fast and the next morning I am headed to the airport and leave the country which I hope I can call my own. Nevertheless, I feel that I am very welcome so I can go back anytime. Thanks to the Moroccans I met during my visit.
Back to work once again. Good thing I had a very nice summer vacation and I feel recharged to go back to work.
I told my officemates that my trip was beyond expectation and told them that their impression about Morocco is absolutely false as I felt very safe during my entire stay. Had I listened to their comments, this whole story would not be written.

2 comment(s) so far...


Re: Fearless Backpacking in Morocco

Nice backpacking trip story. I wish I have the same chance to go to Morocco.

By Emong on   9/6/2010 4:18 PM

Re: Fearless Backpacking in Morocco

Your story wants me to visit Morocco.

By Edil on   9/8/2010 11:20 AM

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