Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Good to Escape the Frigid North

Lest you think that this trip is all struggle and angst, I should put a little energy into talking about the fun elements!

Let us start with the weather.  Truthfully, the whole reason I am in Morocco is because I kept looking for a warmer place to visit after I landed in Madrid.  Madrid was the primary destination as it is in Southern Europe (warmer) and I have a former student living there who has been helpful with travel plans (and a potential place to crash!)  From there it was just a matter of considering, whither South?

So, here I am, where it is cool, to be sure.  As I sit in the salon drinking my coffee and awaiting breakfast it is 40 degrees fahrenheit, but at home it is eight below.  I like a fifty degree difference.  It'll get close to sixty here over the course of the day.   Both days the sky has been clear and the sun has shone and it is all lovely. It ain't Orlando, but then again, it ain't Orlando.

Of course, the locals are all in numerous layers including their winter coats, but it is, for them, the coldest time of the year.

Money is another amusing part of being here.  Money is truly a question of scale.  The Moroccan dirham is scaled at one dirham to twelve cents.  That means that the smallest bill, a 20 dirham note, is worth about $2.40 US.  A cup of tea at a local cafe is 10dh, and a good meal is less than 100dh.  The funny thing about it is that I find myself working to spend as little as possible, since using a 100dh note feels like spending a lot of money.  Of course, it's not.  It's $12US.  It's about scale.  In Spain it's the opposite effect.  The Euro is about $1.33US, so if you use a $50E note, you've actually spent about $62US.  The result, somehow a room for $50E seems less expensive than a room for 750dh!

And walking around the Medina is a feast for the senses.  Medieval architecture, shops filled with hand-crafted items of every description, people everywhere.  The smells alone are a journey unto themselves.  Everything from the pungent smell of urine in darker corners to a million different wonderful smells from cooking to the sharp smells of work in the tannery, in woodworker shops, from metal workers...you can close your eyes and experience the whole thing just through your nose.

But today is about opening my eyes and relaxing.  So, off I go!

1 comment:

Gregg Martinson said...

Thanks for the sensory travelogue Michael.