Morocco - A Land of Contrasts

Trip Start Sep 20, 2012
Trip End Nov 13, 2012

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What I did
Tangier, Assilah, Fes

Flag of Morocco  ,
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We began with a tour of Tangier which has a modern city centre as well as a medina or old walled city. Morocco itself is a fascinating place. Whilst it's a muslim country, it is also quite liberal and certainly no concern about the clothes we were wearing. Women also hold positions of power and there is no polygamy and whilst they are supposed to pray 5 times a day, it doesn't really matter if they don't. Other religions are accepted and there's quite a bit of inter marriage. Morocco has only been independent since 1956 so it's a relatively young country but in the last10 - 15 years massive changes and growth have occurred. Education is now compulsory, and there are now 34 universities in the country, girls cannot marry before they are 18, slums are being eradicated and housing being provided, massive building and road projects everywhere - there's lots of money pouring into this country.
We drove south to a coastal resort town of Assilah but went inside the casbah where homes are worth up to 2 million euros. Outside the walls though, there's a real mixture of old and new in buildings, transport, housing but rubbish sits all over the place.
Driving on towards Fes, we passed through countryside and were stunned by the agriculture - they grow everything and import very little. I expected an arid landscape, but the land is green and fertile and there's eucalyptus trees everywhere - just like home.
Driving through some of the souks (markets for produce) you realise how very different this place is. This is a really basic way of life, they seem really poor but hardworking. There's girls on donkeys carrying water, women carrying a stack of sticks/wood on their neck and shoulders, shepherds watch over their small flock of sheep, men farm the land by hand but rubbish, in particular plastic bags, -  is everywhere.
Arrived in Fes and quickly headed out to an authentic Moroccan restaurant for dinner and entertainment - a band, belly dancer and a magician. I ended up being a victim of the magician and he did a trick where he pulled a bra (not mine) from my blouse. Don't know how he did it but it was a fun night to end a long day of driving.

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