Story & Photos by Jacquelyn Zeman – News Editor
From May 18 to 30, a delegation of nine students and four professors from Grand Rapids Community College traveled approximately 4,146 miles to Morocco. Collegiate News Editor Jacquelyn Zeman went on the trip and documented the experience each day. Read on for her photo-illustrated travelogue, and her updated introduction post to her trip right here. For a day by day look back at Morocco, follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @jacquelynzeman.
Day 6 – May 23
Cities: Boulemane Dades/Ouarzazate
After the night in the Sahara, which we spent sleeping outside on small cots, we watched the sunrise, then headed back to the inn.
After quickly picking up our luggage, we headed out for another long ride in the mountains. We stopped on and off during our drive to see different sections of the Atlas Mountains. As we drove through Morocco, I began to observe how some parts of the country looked very blue, or very red in the desert areas, and green in other areas. While most of this had to do with the geography, I realized that along with the colors, the vibe of the people in different areas of Morocco. In some areas, major cities and near the ocean, people were moving all the time. In other areas, in and around the desert, the people were more relaxed.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was the carpet co-op that day. The men who ran the co-op gave us a presentation, and all different types of rugs were taken out so we could see the different styles and patterns in each of them.
After being given mint tea, the men split our group and took us off to look at rugs for sale. While I did not buy a rug, it was quite fun watching the other members of our group select a carpet, and barter for it.
That night we ended up in a wonderful hotel that was in Ouarzazate, Morocco. Many movies are filmed in this area such as The Nativity Story, Gladiator, Prince of Persia, The Mummy, Cleopatra, and sections of the show Game of Thrones. The film studios nearby are known worldwide as the “African setting” of many popular movies.
The only way that I can explain that hotel, was that it looked like the Hogwarts of Morocco. There were winding staircases all throughout. Each room had a large and spacious balcony that overlooked the area around us. We were very much out in the country, so it was different than many of the other places we had stayed before, which were in the city.
Before dinner the group of people who worked there sang and played music while they were waiting for the food to finish cooking. Seeing the group of Moroccans sing and dance for us was one of the most culturally enlightening experiences throughout the trip. Even though we had no clue what they were singing about, we had this universal connection of music between us.
That night was the first time we had the pastilla. The pastilla is a popular Moroccan dish, that I would best describe as a meat filled pie, but with a light crust that covers the entire dish, and a sugar coating on top. I have never had anything like the pastilla before this trip. It tasted so different from anything I’ve eaten before in the U.S., and everyone in our group loved it.