We met a guy who said "close your eyes think about the most amazing place you have ever been to - now you know what it is like".
So let me start with the smell of spices in the little streets of the Medina. Something Moroccans do as well as the Persian with Abu Sinner and the first book about medicine, is the use of natural ingredients like spices, herbs, flowers, stones, trees and many more - of course some of them in a more serious way than others. Some can really heal disease, some "make you fly, my friend" - such as happy seeds from Essoauria.
#Bargaining / #MaybeLater
Leaving Morocco after ten days means leaving with 25.000 conversations like "No, thank you" "Why not my friend? You are very lucky today! My sister just made that and you only can have this here today - it's best quality!" "No, really I don't want that, I just brought something like that." "Ah, my friend, that is not good quality. You can trust me. Come and see inside."
These kind of conversations lead in areas like the Medina of Fés to that extend that people try to sell the way you walk "it's very hard to find, I will show you" - which again leads to a situation where you will find yourself either running away or just paying to be left alone. And most likely you will find other backpackers in your Hostel to share exactly the same story about how you been ripped off in exactly the same way. The wisest words to escape situations like that are "maybe later" "ok , my friend, later. I will wait here for you."
And yet Moroccan people are awesome. They leave their shop alone to show you a nice restaurant, help you out of conversations you might not understand and as a women you can feel free and save wherever you are. Of course you have to get used to the fact that men still prefer to speak with men first, but you see independent women everywhere, as much as flirting girls and boys, couples holding hands and many tourists in shorts and tops. I experienced the most colorful and friendliest Islam. One of my Moroccan guides (the one I couldn't escape from) told me that it is against the law to question the choice of dressing - it's up to the person. A lot of women cover and it seems that wildly patterned Mantos made out of fluffy garments are the trendsetter this winter.
Foodies in Morocco probably found their heaven. Although many people say vegetarians will have a hard time - it probably just means they having a hard time missing out on great smelling (and tasting) meat and fish. Nevertheless Morocco offers a great variety of vegetable Tanjines, fruits, nuts, Omeletts and not to be forgotten the bakeries. And to save on any further description about that: If I have to define a thing I am into for my entire life than it is Arabic baking - I don't even know if that is a thing and if you can call it that way, but any Arab country I visited set my desire for sugar, cakes and cookies to heaven.
Nature in Morocco is explaining you the colors of the national flag. If you drive into the Atlas Mountains it doesn't matter where you look - you will see red and green. Red, dusty ground with green bushes in huge mountains around you, splitten by crystal clear waterfalls, not to be forgotten the sun of Africa and the taste of the yellow Sahara which isn't far from you.
Many of the mountains carry minerals, so that you easily find stones in any color.
Coastlines have the rough Atlantic sea with a huge surfing scene of young people.
Looking at Morocco and its people one can say these guys are Hippies by nature. You see them chilling, camping, smoking, horse/camel/donkey-riding, eating outside, wearing still the traditional clothes of normads times and many of them are constantly high. Nevertheless they still have a modern city life too with this crazy mixture of their very own mixed culture, which creates this moving energized society of smiling, colorful, environment-related friendly people. Marrakech is probably the best city to just experience this kind of vibe. To me Marrakech was one big festival.
The production of Hashish in Morocco is big, still not officially public. Nevertheless as a tourist it seems a constant thing to be asked if you want to buy Hash and in certain cafes and hostels it is ok to smoke.
Chefchaouen is a village in the north of Morocco, which is known as the "Hash capital". Besides the fact that Chefchaouen is a beautiful tourist village where houses and streets painted in blue entirely and it lies in a valley of a soft mountain surrounding - you can just walk up the hills and find the Hash-farm-villages.
In my case we were picked up at the street by Mohammed, a guy my age, he was nice and after a little talk he invited us to show us the farms in his village. - I can not explain why but we trusted that guy and after I visited many, many textile productions around the world, I was extremely curious how these farmers (Mohammed, a normal guy my age, with a shy smile and talks about history and politics in Morocco) run one of the biggest Hash productions on this planet.
Although me and my friends considered on the way there what the worst thing that could happen would be (we came to the conclusion that walking into the middle of nowhere and being killed would be the worst) and constantly had in the back mind how insanely stupid and naive we are, it was worth it to trust Mohammed.
I was impressed when Mohammed invited us in his little house for tea, where we met his sister and two little kids, who just started to go to school. I was wondering if it is a normal thing to tell in school "I am living on a farm, mostly we produce hashish".
Indeed Mohammed opens a door and grabbed a huge bundle of dried marijuana plants where others would expect a room to sleep, followed by an even bigger plastic bag which easily contained 10kg marijuana and showed us how to make hashish out of it. In the end we were sitting on the floor beating marijuana plants, picking the dust, heating it up and rolling little hash balls by hand in plastic bags. While that Barbie channel was running in the TV and we shared tea and cigarettes in this living-room, while Mohammed chatted about many tourists who come to see the production of Hashish and that his only concern was when Sakouzi tried to forbid harvesting marijuana, now he can laugh about it. This moment was very surreal, but I got an idea of how this works. Actually Mohammed and his family are normal farmers, besides the fact that they also harvest hashish - what does not make a big difference in the way they live as farmers. We paid Mohammed and his family for the "tour" with 150 Dram, which is not much (15€) but he seemed happy with it.
After I went out I was extremely touched by this open-minded and welcoming type of person and the way we were allowed to enter his house and meet his family - besides the fact that I was sitting in a drug production. So if you looking for an experience like that, don't forget that this is not a tourist sight, it's a family you visiting, treat the people with respect.
So to sum up: Morocco is the biggest hippie country I have ever seen, with a happy colorful Islam and funny conversations with phrases like "don't worry I am Moslem" or"open your heart, my friend" in a surrounding of huge Labyrinthes called Medina, where the air is full of the smell of food and spices or stunning nature so rich ofnatural treasures and no matter what you experience: there will be an Moroccan guy who will tell you how lucky you are today. ;)
My top number one country for everyone who wants the taste of an Arabic country with the beauty of everything people used to describe India with!t