So here I am, in Africa for the first time! And I am experimenting a strange cultural shock. Not from seeing Africa, but from staying in the fanciest hotel I have ever seen, and will ever see. But first thing first....
After Nepal, I landed in PAris, where I was meeting an old friend. It was a blast to try to see all of PAris in... 48 hours!!! So we walked and took taxis and metros to see all the most famous places. I will not even try to list them all. Of course, I didn't really visit any of them, but just enough to say "been there" and want to return. I loved Paris, friendly people (who said PArisiens where rude?), amazing food, we did the real French thing, with chocolate croissant in the morning and wine at lunch and dinner. It was just great.
Then I took the train to Luxembourg to meet my old pen friend. We have been writing to each other for 23 years and only met once, so this was long overdue. The train in Europe was a bit different than the train in India... But they both have their own charm. I enjoyed the difference. Luxembourg was great too, lots of castles, and other historical places to visit. After PAris in 48 hours, it was Luxembourg in 48 hours, but it is such a small country, I feel like I have seen a lot of Luxembourg!!! We also went briefly to Belgium. Strangely I was rarely sick in India and Nepal, but managed to get sick while in Europe. Go figure...
Then back to PAris, met my mother and we went to Spain. Sounds like a race, doesn't it.
There we spend a lot of time trying to find hotel rooms and train tickets. It was labor day weekend and everything was booked. So I saw a lot of train stations, bus stations, and internet cafes, but yet , we managed to also visit a lot of places in Sevilla, Malaga, Granada, Toledo and Madrid. We were also going to spend 3 days on the Costa del Sol but it ended up being far too touristy and there was too much concrete for our taste, so we left sooner. I enjoyed seeing these big cities, but somehow, I expected Spaniards to be a bit more "latinos"... Let's say more chatty, smiling more,... But again, we were mostly in big touristic places, big cities. The highlight of this trip was for me the Mezquita, an amazing site, well worth the trip. I also very much enjoyed Tarifa, were we spent the last day before crossing over to Africa.
Africa... I was very excited to arrive in Tanger. I expected way more hassle, but the taxi drivers were not like they are in India. They do not bug you, but they do not bargain either. At least at the ferry terminal. You pay their price or you walk! So we took the ferry and then the train. Same there: It's not Europe and not Asia. Extremely comfortable seats, but the ventilation system wasn't working. It was hot! But I loved to watch everything from the window. All of a sudden, I had the great feeling that I was traveling again! New faces, new clothes, new sights. First time in Arabic culture, and I really like it so far. Very friendly people, smiling a lot, very helpful, and easy to talk to. Of course it helps that many people speak French! And many, many donkeys. I like donkeys. Then we arrived in this hotel. Oh my God. What can I say. I won't say much, because we get it for free, thanks to my mom's points, but after a couple months seeing some of the poorest parts of the world, it is... shocking. Not that I can't enjoy it, but it is like landing on a different planet. I could not live like that for too long without feeling very guilty.
So tomorrow I will get out of this coccooned place and explore Rabat a bit more. Until then, time to go to bed, after a few more sweets, maybe...
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