So, Morocco is *so* much more beautiful than I could possibly imagine! As an amateur photographer, this place is like a wet dream! 😛 If I had a proper camera, I’d be out all day photographing every single crevice in this city ^_^
Jamie (to find out his story and follow his travel adventures, head over to Jamie The Orangutan) and I have had our formal induction with Projects Abroad – the organization that we’ll be interning with for the next three weeks. This was a really good way to get to know a bit about the cultural background and history of Morocco, particularly Rabat – the city that I am stationed in for my project.
The people here are so lovely and there are a LOT of hidden gems in every corner of the Medina (where my host family lives) and in the city centre. As part of the induction, a fellow Projects Abroad staff member took me out to lunch, where I was informed of the traditional feasting of a couscous dish every Friday. To keep up with the tradition (and to satisfy my ever so hungry belly), I decided to go for a chicken couscous. For 65 Dirhams ($8.90), I was presented with a meal that could last me three days! Served in a beautiful, rustic-looking bowl was a bed of couscous, topped with meat, roasted veggies (pumpkin, carrot, potatoes), chickpeas, and a side of gravy. For drinks, I ordered the tropical juice, which was super pulpy and full of natural goodness – strawberries, pineapples, orange, and milk.
This was a rather refreshing and delicious meal, but I felt so guilty at how little I was able to eat. Granted I was starving, but the portion of this dish was just too big. Instead of letting the rest go to waste, however, I decided to have the dish packed in a doggy bag and donate it to someone who was homeless – I thought this would be a great way to make sure that the food did not go to waste. I don’t think it’s much of a concept here to give leftovers to the homeless, but that’s something that I learnt doing in Saudi Arabia and it’s stuck true and firm with me since. 🙂
I was then taken to the city centre by tram – which is so pretty and modern and offers a beautiful contrast with the old village-like look that brings Rabat it’s appealing character and charm.
I don’t think I’ve ever been comfortable being a typical tourist who takes photos of everyone and everything…at least with an audience, so bear with me as I muster the courage to go with the “aw heck, I’m on a vacay!” mentality and proceed with documenting everything on film 🙂
The city centre is mainly a massive market space, with lots of street vendors that have set up camp throughout the streets of the Medina. There are shops for literally everything you can imagine – clothes, pottery, souvenirs, lanterns, furniture – you name it, you’ll find it! I haven’t gone on a shopping spree just yet, but I’m hoping that once I meet some more volunteers, I’ll be able to go on a group adventure around the city. It’s a bit hard when you’re alone, a girl, and subject to catcalling every 200m, but for the most part, I think I’ve done well with exploring a bit of this city on my own! 🙂
Ok, here’s something that is kinda weird yet awesome – sharing cabs with strangers! So, there’s this system where you look for a cab that’s going in the direction of your destination. There are up to 6 passengers who can be taken in the cab, and there are no seat belts for any of the passengers – living on the edge, literally! And if there are 6 passengers, you only pay 5 Dirhams (which is about 68 Australian cents)! Honestly, I like this system, even though safety isn’t really a thing when being driven around the crazy streets of Rabat! 😀 Oh yeah, this brings me to the ever-concerning topic of crossing.the.roads. If you know me well enough, then you know that I absolutely detest crossing the roads because I’m so terrible at it! I need constant supervision and someone to hold on to, because if I don’t, I will die :’) I don’t really get how it works here, but there’s no such thing as a pedestrian crossing or waiting at the signal. You just need to walk on to the road and hope the car stops for you / doesn’t kill you in the process.
Yup! Aaand I’m expected to be independently traveling to placement (and other cities) – challenge accepted! 😉