Friday, May 30, 2014

Americans in Morocco!

Lily and I are back in Morocco after almost a month in America! I have now fully recuperated from traveling  alone with a toddler internationally and figured it was about time to get to blogging again! Sorry, but this is going to be a long one full of pictures.

The same day Lily and I made it back to Morocco our friends A. Gregg and Jaima made it to Agadir for a visit as well. They were doing a little tour of Morocco before heading to Spain and then Italy where A. Gregg will be doing a study abroad for his law school program.

I was a little worried about the timing since I figured Lily and I would have jet lag and they were here during the week and Danny had to work, but we ended up having the best time and packing a ton of stuff in in 3.5 days!

Monday Danny took a half day and he and Ahmed took A. Gregg and Jaima out to Paradise Valley while Lily and I stayed home for an afternoon nap.

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Tuesday morning Lily and I took our guests for coffee and a beach walk. It's like the beach knew we were having visitors because there was not a single piece of trash on the sand, the water was the most beautiful blue/green color, and it was low tide so there was lots of sand to run around and play on that morning.  After the beach, we picked up Danny for lunch and made a quick stop at the souk for some fruits and veggies before heading home to clean up before dinner at Ahmed's parents house.

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Wednesday Danny took the day off work so we could go on a little day trip. A.Gregg loves researching stuff so he knew about all these places in Morocco that would be cool to see so we headed out to see how much we could pack into one day.

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Our first stop was Sous-Massa National Park which is a little over an hour away from Agadir. It is apparently an amazing place for bird watching, if you are into that, but A. Gregg read that it is the only place in the world where sand dunes run right into the Atlantic ocean. We walked on the trail, saw some local villagers tending their fields, saw a couple of birds but not much else. After a while we decided to get off the trail and walked down to the the river bed to see if there was anything more interesting down there. We saw some fish, picked up some dead coral and then got back on the trail. A few minutes later two "park rangers" on a motorcycle catch up to us and start yelling at us in Arabic. Apparently, the signs say you have to stay on the trail and they could not believe we had walked down to the water. The "park ranger" said he had just given another group of people a ticket for getting off the trail and he was so fired up because in his 28 years of working there that was the first day anyone had ever done that. I highly doubt that we were the first to do it in 28 years since there is only one rinky dink sign at the entrance that tells you to stay on the trail and no mention of it again the entire time you are walking through the park. Ahmed, was with us so he and the guy yelled at each other in arabic for a while before the rangers sped off.

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At this point we had been walking for about an hour and there didn't really seem to be anything special about this place but we could see the ocean so I said we might as well go all the way to the water. I didn't know it, but everyone else was thinking we should turn around and go back to the car to get on with our day. Luckily, everyone went along with me because the most awesome part of our day was about to happen!

We made it to the beach and it was beautiful. The water was emerald green and you could see straight through it to the ocean floor. The only other person out there was guy sitting on a bucket in the sand.  It was probably the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. After we played in the water for a bit and were getting ready for our walk back to the car, the guy on the bucket came up to us and asked us if we wanted to go have tea in his cave (sidenote: A.Gregg had wanted to stop at another town on our road trip because he read that local fisherman lived in caves dug out of the rocks on the beach). My initial response to strangers inviting us somewhere is always, "No, they probably want to murder us and steal our stuff.", but since we were with A.Gregg and Jaima and I knew this was something they wanted to see I decided it was too awesome of an invitation to pass us. Our new friends name was Hassan and he drew a map in the sand for Ahmed so he could go get the car and bring it back to the cave.

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The walk to the cave was beautiful and having tea in Hassan's cave was the highlight of the day! The view from his cave was breathtaking and it was such a great reminder to me that people don't need all sorts of "stuff" to be happy. Hassan had everything he needed in his one bedroom cave and the ocean outside his door. We got his phone number so the next time we go back he is going to make us a fish dinner on his terrace!

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After our tea with Hassan, we got in the car and headed toward Tiznit for a late lunch. We spent way more time at our fist stop than we had planned to so we skipped over seeing the silver makers in Tiznit and went to another beach about an hour and half away called Legzira. I had seen a picture of this place on the internet and had been wanting to go so we made sure to make it part of our trip.

Legzira turned out to be another of the most beautiful places ever! We had to walk a ways down the beach to get to the arches that we came to see, but it was worth it for the beautiful pictures we got. This beach was also not very crowded so we ended up having it practically to ourselves! We played in the water until about 7 pm before calling it a day since we still had a 2 hour drive to get back home.

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We got home and made a late dinner and then had a lady come over for a henna house call for us girls! The henna lady was truly an artist. I could not believe how fast she was able to do it and how precise she was. It was also really fun to get to use the riad in our house for something so Moroccan!

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The next afternoon we said goodbye to our guests and Lily and I took nice long naps to recuperate from our crazy week!

Thanks so much for making us a part of your vacation A. Gregg and Jaima! We loved having y'all here!
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