An amazing birthday

Trip Start Feb 17, 2010
Trip End Mar 07, 2010

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Thursday, February 25, 2010

My 40th birthday… Wow. I can honestly say that I've never had a birthday like this.  It started with the sunrise over the dunes at around 6:30.  What a beautiful sight. The camel ride back to the hotel was much shorter than the ride out – thankfully since our camel saddles weren’t very comfortable on day 2.  We showered and had a nice breakfast on the roof terrace overlooking the dunes. 

As we left, Hamid asked if we wanted to see the Moroccan discotheque.  Well of course we did!  He took us to a small area of the village and we entered a room with benches all around and some men in white robes brought in some instruments.  They performed Gnaoua music - which is apparently traditional in Mali, where this "tribe" originated from.  Seriously amazing.  I can't even believe that we got to see this.  At one point, they invited us up to dance.  Well heck - it's my birthday, of course I'm going to dance!!!  Wow.  We were both so moved by the music.

We left there and went back to Maison Tifilalet in Risani (where we had eaten lunch yesterday) and had the rug show.  Yes, they wanted to sell a rug, but meanwhile we had some great conversation.  We liked one of the rugs but the price that we were quoted was WAAAAY out of our budget so we were all set to call it quits.  It doesn't work that way in Morocco...the seller just keeps after you until you give him a price you're willing to spend.  We gave him a price (about 20% of what we were originally quoted) and he wanted to keep negotiating.  After a long time and many attempts to just walk away, he agreed to a price that was ridiculously less than his original quote (about 25% of it).  So... we have a rug!!!  They rolled it up like a sleeping bag and now we have to figure out how to get it home.

From there we went to a fossil factory - near Erfoud, an area was discovered that's full of trylobite (sp?) and other fossils so they now mine these huge chunks of rock and turn them into gorgeous tables, fountains, etc.  Roger bought a rock with a fossil inside and while I was waiting, Hamid bought me a beautiful bowl and gave it to me for my birthday! 

We left there and met up with Tata again, this time at his home.  There was another couple there travelling with Journey Beyond Travel who were very nice, and didn't complain about what happened next.  Tata had a surprise for me - his mother dressed me up in a traditional dress, one of his sisters handed me a sprig of Rosemary as a gift, and then the rest of his family crowded around and started singing and playing hand drums.  They paraded me out to the garden (by that I mean they sung and drummed behind me while I led the group out) where we were having lunch, and brought me a beautiful birthday cake. Tata doesn't like learning people's names, so he gave me the name of "Karima" and Roger was "Karim".  The cake said, "Happy Birthday Karima" on it. Honestly, I was so moved I really didn't know what to do.  After a delicious lunch Tata and his oldest son showed us around the area behind his home.  It was gorgeous - lots of farm plots, date trees, and of course a river.  This is land that is shared by all of the people in the area but each family tends a certain part.  Beautiful!

After that unbelievable lunch, we headed off to Errachidia and the hotel there.  The hotel was very nice, and Roger tried to go for a swim in the pool but it was too cold even for him.  Roger had a lamb tagine for dinner (and I tried not to look at the little rib bones sticking up).  My dinner had no bones and was good except they put ketchup on a pile of rice.  Maybe it was meant for the french fries, but in any case since I'm not Dawson and I don't eat ketchup on rice... I didn't eat that.   
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Connie on

Karima, it sound like you had a wonderful day. Sean printed the parade pic and showed it to me before I got a chance to see it online. My thought was "god! she looks so happy." I'm so thrilled for you!

Al on

I am blown away at the hospitality. That is amazing. I am so happy for you Karima. And I can't wait to see that rug. The REAL DEAL. Karim, I bet the lamb was outstanding.

Shu Shu on

Wow- what a way to celebrate your 40th! That is really great. I'm happy rosemary was with you. xoxo

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