mountains and markets and hashish, oh my!

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November 30th 2006
Published: December 2nd 2006
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continuing onward...

woke up quite early on sunday morning for another delicious breakfast with the fam. we were in for a real treat because we got to watch Nick Lachey perform on the Oxygen network while we dined, haha. silly moroccans. saying our farewells and heading outside, we met up with the group and piled into the van for our four hour ride into the Rif mountains. there we were to have lunch with a family and talk about life there, etc. on the way there i considered using the bathroom, but then reevaluated my decision. after all, it had only been 4 days since i had gone last.

the ride there was decent; i slept a lot of the time. as we got closer to the mountains it reminded me a bit of Honduras, but less lush and more...well, African. since we were hanging out with a family, it was decided that we had to appoint 2 photographers so not everyone was taking pictures of everything. naturally i rose to the occasion since i'm a picture whore. this place was REMOTE as hell, and it was quite the little bumpy journey through what i guess we could consider a village. there we met jaouad - he was to be our translator, and it was his sisters house that we would be visiting. he was pretty shy, but it was cool hangingout with him.

once at house, we pretty much got to work and started putting together some food. we brought fruit, cheese and bread and...tuna for some reason, while the family was preparing giant platters of cous cous for us. we ate on a blanket on the ground overlooking the was ridiculously gorgeous. some of the family members joined us, mainly the little kids. for dessert one of the little boys literally just ran down into the brush and snagged pomagranates off of the trees. they were ridiculously good. there were also tons of olive trees but unfortunately we weren't able to taste any :-(

after our dessert we started our discussion with the family about life in the mountains. mint tea was also served, duh. probably the most interesting thing i learned was when i asked about how the family makes an income, because at one point they said that they typically don't sell their fruit or olives or oil. jaouad was basically like
Olive trees and such...Olive trees and such...Olive trees and such...

this picture makes me think of Jesus for some reason
'well, a lot of families grow cannabis'. so yea, we had spent the afternoon with pot farmers, how cool is that. we joked that we'd be taking a little walk around the property afterwards just to check things out. morocco is in fact a huge producer of hashish (essentially more portable pot in block form), though in recent years its become illegal due to pressure from the EU. consequently the pot fields were well-hidden and the hash they make would never be kept at the house incase the police were to come find it.

after our discussion and my taking pictures of the cutest baby ever, we basically got up and danced. jaouad and his sister sang and played drums while we all danced like idiots. we decided to share some american songs, and basically all we knew collectively was 'i will survive'. what a representation of american culture, haha. once we'd had enough of that, it was pretty much time to go so we all said our goodbyes and piled in the van for a long ride to chefchaouen. before we left there was a rainbow in the sky which was neat.

arriving in chefchaouen it was
Mountain homeMountain homeMountain home

the back part of the house we visited
already dark. since we were staying in a hostel, there were western AND flushing toilets. my friend ellie and i BOLTED to the bathroom. after getting settled we had a bunch of time to pretty much explore the old city and buy stuff. after a couple hours of winding through the narrow streets and passageway i ended up with my very own hookah as well as an indigo-dyed rug among other things. they spoke spanish there so i used my bargaining skills and actually got some reallly good discounts. for dinner we ate at a legit restaurant where i had moroccan soup (tomato-based) and then ridiculously amazing tangin beef with almonds and figs. chocolate crepes were for dessert. like i said, i certainly wasn't eating in developing-world conditions. after dinner we had a little more time to shop and then had our final discussion back in the hostel. zach gave us each pieces of crystalized sand from the moroccan desert as well as pieces of musk to remind us of the smells from the moroccan spice markets.

monday was our last felt like i had been there for a month, but at the same time like 15 minutes. we woke up at the crack of dawn and headed up to the top of the city to get a bird's eye view. beth and i got lost because we were taking pictures, but we eventually managed to find the rest by just walking up. pretty sweet views. everything was being repainted in the characteristic (and jewish) blue because the king was visiting that day. i managed to snag some moroccan candy bars for the binder before finally grabbing my stuff and heading out back to spain.

it was a day of transit, driving up to ceuta where we would cross the border from africa morocco to spain morocco (spain has a few autonomous cities there). it was kind of disgusting how we as americans basically just had to flash our passports and went right through while people in like rags were fighting and not able to cross. apparently that border is HUGE for illegal drug transit, but i thought it would be best not to make any purchases. just kidding! then it was back on the ferry were we all got beers to celebrate our return to the west. finally we waited for our late afternoon bus back to madrid that got me in at 1:25 am where i just made the last metro. what a weekend...

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21



zach, kendra, austin, and myself

three generations
time for some musictime for some music
time for some music

jaouad and his sister providing is with something to dance to...
cool piccool pic
cool pic

rolling into Chefchaouen Sunday night...

tanjin beef with almonds and figs...notice the hot coke bottle in arabic
the group againthe group again
the group again

chefchaouen in the background...

zooming in on the city, basically its plaza mayor

walking through the city's narrow passageways. notice how everything's blue.

looking out at the rock of Gibraltar on our way back to Europe...

2nd December 2006

2nd December 2006

Hey no pix of Nick Lachey???? AndbythewaycanyoucallTheresabackokbye. haha no seriously.
4th December 2006

Oh, Jeff, What an adventure you're on! Thanks for taking me with you. I especially loved the photos. You didn't smoke any of that intoxicating stuff, did you?

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