What an incredible weekend it’s been!!!
I almost don’t even know where to start, so I guess I’ll begin with Thursday night. Ben, Lauren, Julia, Imad, Addison, Jared and I went to the medina to find something fun to do, as always. We wandered for a little bit, and Ben and I ate a fried fish. And by that I mean it was an entire fish, fresh out of the market, that was fried. We pulled it apart, ripped out the spine, and ate it whole! It was delicious! Ben even ate the head, because apparently it’s good luck, although I think it was just an excuse for him to be gross. Then we went to a café in the plaz by the Bab Mansour and had the most delicious omelette Panini ever. They absolutely love their omlettes here, at any time of day, and I’m totally ok with that.
Friday morning we woke up early and got on the bus to come to Asilah. It was a four hour bus ride but so incredibly worth it. As soon as we got to Asilah we went to Hotel Zelis, where we stayed. I was in a room with Lauren and Julia on the fifth floor. We got on the elevator, and it only went to the 4th floor. We were a little confused but took a spiral staircase up from the 4th floor and ended up….on the roof. Overlooking the ocean. It was absolutely breathtaking. There was a little veranda and behind it was our room. We definitely got the best room out of everyone. We freaked out and enjoyed the view for a few minutes before changing into our bathing suits and setting out to look for food. We roamed around the town, and let me tell you, Asilah is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. It’s perfect. After I retire, mark my words, I will move to Asilah and spend the rest of my life on the beach. There’s such a mix of culture and language…it’s unlike any other town I’ve ever been in. We ended up finding a wonderful little restaurant called Mataam Manar where I ate absolutely delicious swordfish- I had forgotten how much I missed eating fish! Because Meknes isn’t on the coast, we never get to eat it there. After that, we went to the beach and met up with the rest of the kids and alid out and played I n the breathtaking blue water. A typical Moroccan stalker told me I was Arab-colored, so that made my day. Eventually, Ben, Michael and I wandered over to a big wall of rocks that were shaped like huge jacks [like, bigger than a car] that had been carefully and strategically stacked. We happened upon a group of boys cooking tajine down in the rocks who gave us free temporary tattoos. We were feeling silly, so we each got one. Ben’s was definitely my favorite- a huge butterfly stretching across his chest. Michael picked out a heart with a banner across it that said Fun Lover for me, and I picked an octopus out for him. When our “new friends” started doing some sketchy stuff that I didn’t think it wise to be around in Morocco, I had Ben walk me back to the others. On the way, we were walking along this twenty foot high wall, and a man stopped Ben and warned him in French that his girlfriend [me] would get eaten by the shark-fish because I was showing too much skin in my bikini. Oh, Morocco. Ten seconds later, a big group of boys walked past us, and one of them jiggled my boob!!! Really. He reached out and JIGGLED MY BOOB, while making a ksss ksss kssss sound. I was in shock, and all I could do was yell “BEN!”, who promptly turned around and cursed at the guy in French.
That night, we all met at 7:30 to walk through the medina and watch the sunset. There’s some kind of art festival going on and there are people everywhere throughout the medina painting murals on walls and it was beautiful. We climbed down from the street onto some rocks jutting into the water and watched the sunset as little boys jumped from buildings in the medina into the water. It was beautiful. Unfortunately the horizon was a little foggy so we couldn’t see the green flash. Que lastima!
Later, Ben, Addison, Jared and I went on a walk along the beach, and the stars were so bright and so awe-inspiring. The Big Dipper literally jumped out of the sky. It was right over the water and so big and bright – I haven’t seen stars look like that in a long time.
Saturday was one of the best days I’ve ever had. Lauren, Julia and I woke up early and went back to Mataam Manar for omelettes. After that, we went shopping in the medina and I finally started doing some damage in Morocco. Up until yesterday, all I had really indulged in here was a Berber rug. Yesterday, I bought an orange caftan, a silver Berber ring that I am obsessed with, an antique silver hamsa bangle bracelet, hammered silver hamsa earrings, a yellow leather wallet embossed with a camel, and my favorite- an one of a kind original design dress from a local fashion designer that is wildly patterned and covered in intricate beading. It set me back nearly 600Dh but it is my new favorite piece of clothing. Afterwards, we ate shawarma and went back to the hotel, where the manager ordered a donkey cart to take us to Paradise Beach. One of the boys from the last ISA group here, Gabriel, told us that we absolutely had to go to Paradise Beach in a donkey cart, and now I could almost kiss him. It was the most bizarre, incredible, beautiful, scary thing ever. We climbed onto a small rolling table strapped to the back of this huge animal, and the ride was ridiculously bumpy and we were constantly in danger of flying right off. As an added surprise, the donkey pulling us started farting the second we started moving and continued a good portion of the way there. As we made our way through the medina, two guys in a Mercedes started following us and pulling up beside the cart to talk to us, and beg us to “go to the sea” with them. They even got on the phone to call their friends, and a few seconds later, we’re surrounded by three Mercedes Benzes! After following us for a good ten minutes, they finally gave up. We were only expecting a short ride, but 30 minutes later we were rolling down a dirt road, through watermelon fields and past shacks, and starting to get slightly nervous. We had no clue where we were, except that we were somewhere right outside of Asilah, with no cell phone service. But then, we drove in between two hills and the horizon opened up, and we were on a huge cliff towering above the ocean. It put the beaches in Cozumel and Hawaii to shame. Beautiful clear water, no one on the beach, and huts serving food and drinks. We spent nearly three blissful hours laying out and playing in the water. A few minutes before we were supposed to catch our cart back to Asilah, the three of us were lying down when we heard a sound like a donkey dying. We started looking around, and upon sitting up, found that four camels had appeared in front of us, like a mirage. We were so excited!!! We took pictures with them and petted them. There was even a baby who was very affectionate and nuzzling up against me. It was incredible! We took a slightly less eventful ride back to the hotel, and bid adieu to our smelly cart. The rest of the day wasn’t nearly as exciting. Everyone got together for dinner, wandered around the medina,and we took a disappointed trip to Hotel Alkhaim to go dancing [it didn’t work out].
Today we woke up early and went to Tangier for the day and seriously…nothing exciting happened. At all. Except we could see Spain. And Patrick puked the whole way home. That’s it.
I had a great weekend; I hope yall did too! Now it’s time to buckle down and study for my Arabic test on Tuesday and nag Ben until he finishes hammering out the details of our free weekend!

Salaam wa hubb,

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