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A Very Berber Birthday! Trip report and travel tales, Spain, Morocco & Lisbon

A Very Berber Birthday! Trip report and travel tales, Spain, Morocco & Lisbon

Feb 12th, 2007, 07:19 AM
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Yeah jgg- she did a bit. Both of us got huge rasberry bruises above the back of our knees, probably from knocking the saddle.
laartista is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 07:34 AM
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marigross is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 08:10 AM
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I have been enthralled with your report! Very well written, and the pictures are so fun to see. We are leaving for Morocco in a couple of weeks, and your information and insights have been invaluable.

I'm hanging on every word....your writing has made this one of the best trip reports I've read. Thank you so much for taking the time to share.

And I'm dying to hear what the dr. says about your ear today! Please let us know.

LisaG is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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laartista, great trip report, it's bringing back so many memories. Your pictures from the Todra Gorge showed the hotel where I stayed, built right along the walls. Sorry about the ear ache it sucks to be sick on vaction especially in a country like Morocco when communication can be challenging.

I had better luck than you with the squat toilets only ran into one in three weeks I was there not including the "bereber toilet" in the desert.

My husband's camel also had that gurgling problem but then he would burp and a horrible smell would come, then eventually the camel (I named him Louis, mine was Henri)got diareaha and my camel got mad and bit him on the bum! Did you stay on your camel for the full two hours? I got on and off mine because my legs were killing me. I ride horses for a living and maybe it was because camels are wider than horses and stretched my leg muscles out too far but I was very sore.

Can't wait to hear the rest.
Trish is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 11:06 AM
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Thanks e1- Spoke to Doc, will see her later in the week had the dentist fill 3 cavities and fit me for my TMJ bite plate- ouch that was expensive.

Can you believe it- Still Day 4

We returned to our camp and it was raining pretty good now. The 2 guys who stayed behind had moved the table and chairs into the largest tent. It smelled a bit of wet wool but was suprisingly warm and toasty. A few of us sat on thin matress type things and a few on the short chairs. Lanterns lit the tent up.

First, Bad Boy comes in with a tin filled with coals for the center of the table for heat. Then Mohammed brings the mint tea and some yummy cookies. The little guy & I can't remember his name brings the drums and he is followed by Omar.

The small guy warms the drum tops over the fire I guess to make it looser for sound or something. Then he and Omar begin to play. We sipped our tea, ate our cookies and listened and watched our desert concert. Then Omar stops. He says it is joke time. We should all share our jokes. Now I for one was NOT sharing the jokes I knew with a bunch of Muslim men. It just would have been way too disrespectful. Although I kinda got the feeling these guys were progressive and would probably like the dirty jokes in my arsenal.

Noone volunteered so Omar said I have one. Here is a sampling of the Berber Shecky Green act:

Joke 1: How do you get a camel into a refridgerator in just 3 moves?

Now we sat on that one for a while. Only Nick (the prof. ) immediatly knew the answer. I asked how and you know what Omar said...."Think about it" Finally I said"Omar, TELL ME!"

Answer: You open the door, put him in and shut the door. Yep Ladies and Gentlemen That's the BIG punchline LOL.

It's not over, Oh no.
Joke #2: the lion is having a huge party and invites all the animals. They all go except 1. Which animal can't go to the party?

Yep, interesting stuff, so we all pretend to think about it while secretly rolling our eyes when Omar says "Give Up?" Yeah, we give up.

The answer: The Camel, because he's in the refridgerator. LOLOLOLOOLOL

Now that's A-1, first class Berber humor for ya! Do you see the trend-ALL JOKES INVOLVE THE CAMEL!

Next Omar and his crew of 3 merry men double up on the drums and play some awesome tunes before it our turn. Each one of us gets a drum lesso from Omar. Now Graham did good, and Robin did really, really good ( she might have a new calling), Linze passed, Nick and Matt- were marginal and I the tone-deaf, not a musical bone in my body gal SUCKED BIG TIME!
laartista is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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Sorry hit post too soon

Dinner was about to be served, I had to pee. I asked the other girls anyone have to go and they all piped in YES! Phew, I was scared I'd have to venture out alone.

Robin says she brought a flashlight(a good idea) It was very dark, no moonlight and just like at any restaurant all the girls go to pee together. We look with the flashlight for the best place. The palm tree was too narrow and you could see it from the lit up tent where the guys were cooking dinner. Move on to the big giant, wide load bush. Yep, it was perfect.

Maybe too much info here, but I had wondered about this so here goes:

Robin had the flashlight and I had borrowed a roll of TP from the Kasbah the night before so we were set. Us 4 girls lined up behind that bush, dropped our drawers and had a communal pee, giggling the whole time like a bunch of teenagers. We would make this trek a total of 4 times together until we left the desert.

We return to the tent just as the men are bringing in dinner. They do not eat with us, they go to their tent. What's on the menu? Guess? That's right CHICKEN TANGINE, but this time with COUS COUS. We were all really hungry and finished off that tangine. Another glass of mint tea and we were all satisfied. We chatted all thru dinner and laughed ALOT. It was a great bunch.

After dinner Omar came in and asked where we wanted to sleep. There were 3 tents but the large one was already warm so over dinner the 6 of us decided that we would all sleep together in the large tent, we told Omar. He said that while they get the tent ready we should go stand by the fire that Bad Boy had made and then go for a an after dinner walk.

Go for a walk? Walk to where? We were in the middle of the Sahara desert.
laartista is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 11:42 AM
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haha! I'm cracking up at this last part. Hmm....peeing in the desert! I hadn't thought about that!

You have convinced me to go to Morocco and do the desert tour with Omar. If only he would answer my emails....
BELLE0516 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 11:55 AM
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This is a fabulous report!! I've spent all morning reading it when I should be working. Luckily boss is gone for the day. Your pictures are amazing. Did you have any problems with eating the food? Do you have to be careful about what you eat and drink? Did you feel safe there? Are the people in general friendly? I would LOVE to do something like this. I am a tad bit older than you though - how do you think a physically fit, fun loving woman of a certain age would manage? How long exactly were you on the camels? What time of year would be good to go? (not to hot or too cold). Looking forward to the rest of your report and I hope your ear is better.
Barb is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 12:03 PM
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Yet another wonderful trip report...I loved the one you wrote about Provence and this one is amazing as well. I hope your ear is on the mend, I'm prone to ear issues as well and they SUCK! You live in Manhattan, right? I'm in the East Village and travel lots as well. My sister lives in London so I'm in Europe frequently. EasyJet flies from London to lots of locations in Morocco, so you really have me thinking about it!

Thanks again for such a fun and informative trip report with great pics. It's so nice of you to share it with all of us!
Rachele is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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What a fab trip report! My husband and I are heading to Morocco (Casablanca for one night then on to Marrakech) and I am seriously thinking about taking the camel trek now!
mum4k9 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 06:40 PM
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One question- how may total days did you spend in Marakesh? I was thinking of doing 4days with a tour with Omar, but would you recommend 5 instead? Thanks!
BELLE0516 is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 08:12 PM
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Seems I've caught a cold so I'll just answere some questions and off to bed.

Barb-I have a terrible stomach-had an ulcer last year and I take prilosec 2x everday for super bad reflux. That said suprisingly I did not have nay problems with my stomach or the food. I was concerned, but no problems. I did feel totally safe there. Woman are treated a bit different but I never once felt in danger as a jewish, american ,woman. I thought the people overall were extremely friendly and very warm and welcoming. We were on the camels 2 hours to camp and 2 hrs back. Like I said a few bruises on my inner knee thigh area, but nothing too bad. I have heard summer is not a good time. I would think early spring or fall. It is cold at night in the desert and freezing in the mountains.

Mum- definitly do the camel trek-it was awesome, neatest thing I have ever done.

Rach- If I were in London I'd for sure hope on easyjet down to Marrakech. I think it's pretty cheap and we saw alot of Brits there for a long weekend. We traveled in the desert with 4 people from England I think 2 flew BA said they paid 60 quid rt.

Belle. i would do 5 days. We were in M-kech 2 days. 1 on either side of desert trip and we could have used an extra day in M-kech.

alright tomorrow- I think my favorite part

night all
laartista is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 05:52 AM
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Thanks La,

Hope you feel better -- 1/2 the people I know here in NYC seems to have a cold, the flu or bronchitis. So far I have avoided it, but we'll see how I do!

Looking forward to the rest of your trip report.
Rachele is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 07:49 AM
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So we went for a walk. Lynze, Robin and I made another trip to our bathroom bush and Nicola, Matt and Graham along with Bad Boy took a stroll up a dune. We met back at the fire where Omar was waiting for us. He had a sad look on his face.

What's wrong Omar? Very seriously he said " One of you will have to walk back tomorrow" We all just looked at him, "Really". "Yes", he said. Why what happened. He said " We've lost a camel". Lost a camel? Did he run away. What happened to the camel. Omar said he had died. This was horrible, a dead camel, I hope it wasn't Bob.

Where is he, the camel? Omar said we put him in there and pointed to one of the dark tents off to the left. NOw we thought this was very odd. WHY would they put a dead camel in a tent and HOW did they get him in there? He looked at me and said " Go, go have a look". Me? No! I don't want to see a dead camel in a tent. The 6 of just stood there dunbfounded and Graham finally said, let's see. So against my better judgement, out of pure curiousity I walked to the tent. It was dark. As soon as I peeked my head thru, a lantern lit up a table with a birthday cake! The dead camel story was a Berber ruse for a suprise Birthday Party. How wonderful!

The cake sat in the middle of our table they had moved from the dinner tent. Atop the cake were 6 upside down glasses each with a candle on it. Omar and his 3 guys yelled Happy Birthday Andrea. I swear I almost started to cry, So awesome, and thoughtful! We were all giggling.

Then everyone sang Happy Birthday. I made a wish, blew out my candles. They had brought the cake from Merzouga, loaded it onto nick's camel, it was a bit crushed on one side, but still the best cake. We were then treated to a mini concert. Drums and flute. We told more stories, the 10 of us and had some MORE mint tea. Bad Boy had some funny foreign commercials in his cell phone and he passed them around. It was a great party and one of ,if not the best Birthday EVER!

I'm not sure what time it was when we decided to turn in but it had been a long, long day and we were exhausted. The 6 of us went into the dining tent that had been arranged for sleeping. Mini mattresses lined up in one row. Graham, Linze, Robin, me, NIcola & Matt. The boys wanted the ends. There was no daylight between us but it didn't feel weird sleeping so close to what had been the day before complete strangers.

It was suprisingly warm in that tent. Much warmer than the kasbah the night before. I still slept in my hat.
It was a slumber party and we talked for a while reliving the day before we all dozed off.

laartista is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 07:58 AM
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Aww! How sweet of them. That's def. a b-day you'll never forget.

Hope your not feeling too sick. Get well soon!
BELLE0516 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 12:02 PM
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Hi again! I'm becoming somewhat of a pest.......

I need to arrange riad accomodations in MK and haven't heard back from Omar (trying to stay one night at riad, go to desert, and come back). This is a trip for May. Do you know if he does desert treks in May. This will be late May. I looked at his website but it doesn't say so. Hope you can help! Thanks.
BELLE0516 is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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Lovin' it!

Morocco is my favorite country to visit. The next time you go, throw caution to the wind and hit the South. It is out of this world.
laclaire is offline  
Feb 13th, 2007, 12:31 PM
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WOW! I am sooo glad that Michael sent me here as some how I missed this thread.

I am loving the detail and laughing my head off at times ( I have froze some nights here in my unheated 15th century Andalucian village house).

Omar is one of the people I am considering as well ( tho I also have yet to hear from him.

But there is another very interesting Brazilian & Morocco couple that is really interesting me too.

Happy Belated BD and hope that ear is better...painful hearing about that.

Great trip report!
WTnow is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 06:09 AM
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What a great birthday surprise -- you must have been in complete shock. And the pictures are terrific; it sounds like you guys bonded as a group in a major way. I love when stuff like that happens...
Rachele is offline  
Feb 14th, 2007, 07:50 AM
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Thanks you guys.

Yeah it was a great suprise and we really did bond as a group. We invited all to NY.

Belle- I think he does go in May, keep trying ,he is hard to pin down, the others in the group had the same problem- but very worth it. Both you and WT if you have emailed him check your spam in box if you have a filter, that's where I found his first response. His email comes up as

[email protected]

I received a really nice email from him when I got home and emailed him back.

Yeah- lacalire, definitly going back. Where in the south do you recommend? Can I say again LOVED MOROCCO. It is too, my new favorite country!

Trying to get the next installment up, was in bed all day yesterday with this dang cold!

laartista is offline  

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