Morocco 2017 : Part 1

This trip was my first on my own. I went with a tour group that puts together people and books everything. It is so nice to have someone take the stress out of planning.  I couldn’t have picked a nicer location. MOROCCO!

I began my trip with a 5 hour drive to the airport. It was easy traffic and I made good time. I wasn’t nervous or stressed. I parked and checked in and boarded so easily that you wonder where all this good luck came from. My flight gave me time to catch up on some movies because I was too excited to sleep. I had a layover in Paris and was disappointed that there wasn’t more things in their international terminal.  I attempted to nap while I waited for my next flight. It came quickly enough and I was on my way to Casablanca! Customs went easy and my bag was waiting when I got through. Always a good thing! Once through security, however, I could not find my driver. For about 15 minutes I was in near panic as I tried to figure how to get to my hotel. He finally showed up and got me on my way to Casablanca.

The hotel was quaint and I was rooming by myself. Lucky me! I hadn’t paid the extra fee for single rooms and had expected to room with someone.  20170406101934We met our group and leader and got our orders for the next day. There is not much to see in Casablanca because it is really an industrial city and not touristy. However, the Hassan II Mosque was humbling. It is magnificent and the perfect way to start the trip. The building is detailed beyond imagination and it is very humbling to walk, barefooted, in this holy place. The entire building is immense, as you can see from the tiny person in this picture.

We soon moved out of Casablanca towards Rabat and Meknes.  As you drive you see livestock just picketed on the side of the road eating. 20170406223524There were many people in the fields tending their crops. And green, green things everywhere! When I think of Morocco I think of hot, sandy landscape. How wrong I was! Morocco is anything but dry and barren. Flying into Morocco you see green and the typical square patches of crop fields.

The lush wheat or barley fields could be seen all over the landscape.  I was informed that each field was owned by a family and they, generally, worked them by hand, hoping to produce enough to survive the winter.  20170406223615I had the impression this is how things had been done for hundreds of years.  I remember a field off by itself on a hillside. The wind was playing and tickling the grasses. And they danced and shimmered in such a magical way.  Alive and happy to reach toward the sun.  It was surreal.

Rabat,  Morocco’s current capital city, used to be an old Roman settlement. You can see Rome’s influence in the many pillars and mosaics. The Kasbah (literally “walled city”) is a step back in time. Behind these walls lives an older civilization with traditions many hundreds of years old. You wander around blind alleyways and through a maze only a local knows how to navigate.20170406223544 The blue reminds you of the ocean or sky and the white shows their Arab heritage. It was a lovely walk through this Kasbah. The people were friendly and kind. No judgment or resentment. I was secretly excited to wear my head scarf. However, it wasn’t needed. I never received angry looks for being uncovered. The hospitality of these people is beyond words.

The Medina in Meknes was also a window into a different era. There were piles of spices, olives in many flavors, and fresh meat hanging in vender stalls. It made you feel like the old world was still alive. Many times with a warning of “Balak”  to move out of the way, people with large hand carts, mules, or horse moved through the narrow alleys taking wares to and from stalls. The press of people and the shouting of sellers could be very overwhelming. I was approached many times to look at a vender’s good but never hassled to buy. But I did buy. 20170407115040

After so much traveling in one day and taking in all the sights I was very glad for my bed. The beds in Morocco are firm, very firm. Something to keep in mind if you like a soft bed. I slept very well regardless.

Please stay tuned for more of my awesome Moroccan adventure.

Sunday Mediations

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Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12

Sometimes I wonder at the truths found in the Bible. They make complete sense and yet, people still don’t see the wisdom. “Hatred stirs up dissension.” Dissension as defined by Webster is, disagreement that leads to discord. So hatred leads to disagreement that leads to discord. I think this could be because hatred can be so blinding. Blinding to the truth, to logic, to kindness. What could be more easy to understand?

Love covers all wrongs. If you can truly, unconditionally love someone then their actions, regardless how distressing, are washed away. Imagine, according to the Bible, that we are forgiven for killing God’s son. God’s love has completely washed away our wrongs. If we can attempt to follow this example how wonderful our world would be. I challenge you over the next week (any beyond) to choose love over hatred.

Sunday Meditations

orion-nebula“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

A few days ago, I was watching a show on the current Dalai Lama. It was a fantastic show about what he thought was missing and important in today’s world. He told the interviewer that the most important thing missing is proper teaching. The Dalai Lama stated there are classes for Science, Arithmetic, and even Geography but there are no classes for understanding your own  emotions and spiritual health.  Regardless of what you believe, if our children were taught more about how to respond to emotions such as anger or love they might be able to manage them better. If our children were taught what healthy emotions are perhaps we would have less suicides and domestic violent offenses. A class that delves into spiritual side of a person would help our young ones learn where they fit into the world.

The biggest question that comes from wanting these lessons is, Who teaches them? Should it be on our schools to teach our young learners about more then just how to take a test? Should it be on the parents to teach their offspring how to deal with the hormonal feelings they are having? These are such a serious subjects that no one is paying attention to. Could you imagine a world where everyone was emotionally and spiritually healthy? I believe it could really bring peace to the world.

How could you make the world better?

Sunday Meditations

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“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Proverbs 1:7

This kind of goes along with my last post. How fear and knowledge work hand in hand. It is important to note in this short verse how much information is included. Wisdom and discipline is the key to knowledge. You have to train yourself to take the time to seek out information. When seeking out something that is so much greater then you are (this could be God or anything) that a healthy bit of fear is ok. In fact, it is expected. I am sure that when a architect is faced with a huge project or new design there is some fear involved. The key is wisdom and discipline. Wisdom to know what you are doing and the discipline to continue on your way.  This leads to greatness.

It can be used in everyday life. For example, I am in the search of a new vehicle. I know what I want and the price I can pay. I have spent time looking  at models and reviews. I have spent time looking the price ranges all over the states. I also am a little fearful of spending so much money. It is always a risk, buying any vehicle but it is a calculated one. I feel that overall the investment will be worth while.

What are your thoughts?

Book Reviews: March

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Standing at 16 books so far this year. I know that the two Outlander books slowed me down. It is so nice to be lost in books again.

At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald: This is a classic fairytale book written in the late 1800s about a young boy who is taken on an adventure by the North Wind. This would be a perfect book to read to your child as a bed time story. The chapters aren’t very long and the imagery is fantastic. Also there are many good lessons about life the story touches upon. Fairness, adventure, honor, etc.

Philo Vance Cases by S.S. Van Dine: I think my mom summed up this book the best, “It’s written in black and white.” She was meaning they are like black and white movies, which we both love. It is written with class and flare. The language is beautiful and the scenes wonderfully painted. If you want something enjoyable and fun to read any of the cases are the way to go.

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon: I don’t tend to read the second in a series only because I normally don’t have the second one on hand and move onto something else. Well I decided to read the second one. It has somewhat ruined the fantasy I had in my mind but at least the story continues. Also this book seems to be a little more disjointed. I have had to go back a few times an reread a paragraph. Altogether, I am enjoying the second installment and even started watching the TV Show.

 

Other Reading

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clark

 

Personal Strength

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I am scared, or rather I could be scared. I am going to a foreign country, by myself, with no other contact then the tour group I am using. I will be gone about two weeks traveling in a country who’s personal believes are far different from my own. I have every right to be scared.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” –Frank Herbert: Dune

It really hit me a couple of days ago what I was going to do. This trip is a huge undertaking. However, instead of panicking I reminded myself all the hours of research that has gone into this trip. Hours researching the tour group, the culture, the language, food, etc. I have probably spent more time researching then I will be on my trip. That is OKAY! In fact, that is perfect. By giving myself all the information I can find, I will be able to enjoy the trip.  Now thinking of this trip I feel only excitement and the normal anxiety that comes with traveling.

I feel that more people should put the time and effort into learning about their goals and adventures. Perhaps if we had more information at our disposal we would make better judgment calls. It also helps to have an open mind too and a willingness to experience the world around you.

So as I board my plane to fly to Morocco keep in mind that I probably wont be able to post a whole bunch or respond to comments. However, I will post pictures asap. Send me happy thoughts and prayers as I embark on this most excellent adventure.