Saturday, June 22, 2013


Morocco, my most anticipated trip and the most expensive. Why Morocco? For one, I wanted to be able to say that I had been to Africa twice this year but also because I have heard a lot of mixed things about Morocco and wanted to see for myself what it was like. I knew I would never feel comfortable traveling there alone since the country is predominantly Muslim and women are not seen as equals and could possibly face grave danger when traveling alone, so I decided to go with a group called Discover Sevilla. Their trip description was amazing. Hitting five cities and sleeping 3 nights in the Sahara Desert, camping under the stars, meeting tribes from the area, it would take several hour long camel rides to get to our camp site (ouch), climbing sand dunes in the freezing night air in hope to see the most beautiful moon of your life... I could go on.
I had to wake up at 5 in the morning to take a taxi to a spot where a bus would pick us up and take us to the ferry. The bus ride was about four hours so we slept most of the trip. We went through customs and got onto the ferry for another two hours and WALAA we were in Africa!!! We headed over to a hotel to have lunch and from there we spent a lot of time in the bus, probably close to some 20 hours in total, we went through the snow- who knew there would be snow in Morocco??.. then we got to dry land..the rocky desert... and finally the Sahara! In order to get to the Sahara we had to take jeeps through the rocky desert. My jeep ride was probably one of the most memorable moments of my semester. A local man drove us in the jeep blasting a live concert taping of Celine Dion..and singing along! I remember laughing so hard that I couldn't even feel all of the bumps and curves of the drive. Laughing so hard and being in mid air because the driver would drive so fast over the rocky terrain that I couldn't keep my butt on the seat.

A surreal moment was getting on a camel for the first time. We arrived in the desert at about 10 at night and the only light was from the cars. The camels were sitting down waiting for us to jump on. When you get on a camel while they are sitting down you have to get ready for the lift off, they kind of wobble up so you have to try to put all your wait on the back of the camel so that you wouldn't fall forward while it was trying to get up, you would hear a lot of "LEAN BACK!!!" One they were standing I became very nervous, those babies are TALL and the way they move makes you think your going to fall right off, different camels have different humps, the ones that we were on only had one big hump in the middle so you can imagine the difficulty of balancing on that with all of your belongings on your own back. Once the cars were gone, and the camels began to take us toward camp. It was so dark that I couldn't even see the camel in front of me, I don't think I could even see my own hand in front of me, the only light came from the moon, it was so bright that night, I was overcome with excitement, I would look up at the sky and it was covered in stars-as far as thee eye can see. I probably saw about 4 shooting stars that night it was incredible. We got to camp got settled in, had dinner and played drums with some locals..danced next to the fire, the usual...

Afterwards we were faced with the challenge of climbing sand dunes. Let me just saw that is a WORKOUT! Imagine running in sand, but trying to climb it, your feet are constantly sinking.. if you don't move fast enough you fall back, the sand is cold..your hands get numb, your thighs weak from climbing on sinking sand stairs.. but you can't give up, everyone is watching. The people that made it to the top keep cheering you on and boasting about the view, there is no turning back now. Out of breath and exhausted, I laid down in the cold sand stared out to the sky and thought, wow, this is living.

So I'm in Morocco, of course I'm going to take a dozen camel pictures..

Rocky desert 

Jeep driver and my new friend Katie!

Night camel ride

After climbing the sand dunes...catching my breath 

Middle of the desert 

Because " this is Africa!" 

where they get water

Climbing sand dunes to watch the sunset

My hand print
A camel hand print

Where they would dye sheep skin to make leather 

local community 

Cooscoos all I ate while I was there, it was like tiny rice with vegies


Africa has snow

Monkey in the snow

pony rides in the snow, only way these people make any money

Goodbye Morocco, it was chill.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Little Bit of Madrid

Trip with Interest Group CIEE

Being back in Madrid felt wonderful. I had a great feeling of familiarity and comfort being there. The people have always treated me very well and the fact that there is always something going on at every hour of the day. I love this city. Hope to come back one day in my life to work at the US Embassy for a couple of years, so check out my future home! 

Getting ready for Xmas the is the Plaza Mayor one of my favorite spots in Madrid, last time I was in Madrid with SMH I would just sit next to this statue and watch Flamenco dancers at night, would be perfect weather, everyone out, just amazing vibe

yep, jumping on the back of a statue does hurt, if anyone was thinking of trying it

was super excited to be here, I had always passed by this church but never went in, very beautiful and colorful. Catedral de la Almudena

The Palace my other favorite place in Madrid sooo beautiful another place I finally got to go into, I made it a point to go inside

where you can have dinner at the opera, a plate of cheese is 18 euro, to give you an idea of the prices haha

inside the opera, we usually are not allowed to go in while they are practicing but the lady liked us, she also got us into the box where the queen sits, there is only one person who has a key to open the door to that box so she would open the main door, once everyone was in she would lock it and then open the door to the box and hold it open till we were all out and then lock it back up again before she let us out from the main door, erin (the blind girl I wrote about in Granada) got to sit in the queens seat, she absolutely loved it, no one is allowed to sit there, like ever. 

outside of the Prado Museum, had to get a pic here, this is exactly where I had a picture with SMH when I was last here it was so cool because I remembered where I was where everything was from three years ago, like to have that feeling in a city in Europe was just way cool, can't imagine how it's going to be when I visit Sevilla again, Sevilla is already my home, feels more like a home to me than Stockton.

in the middle of a park

rachel, ellie,alison, temi, linnea and juan, pretty great group

at el sol, basically the "time square" of madrid

you don't wana know the literal meaning, but basically it means I have had it up to here with you

at the palace we had some free time during the trip so everyone went to the park, I got right off the metro, ran up the stairs and straight to the palace, got there 10 minutes before they stopped selling tickets, my other friends got there a minute late and couldn't get in, I was stoked, had always wanted to see it. There wasn't much to see inside because a lot of it was blocked off but it really is an incredible palace, it is set up as if the royal family still lives there. There is a huge dining area with a 15 foot table for whenever they have royal or political guests. 

church where royal family got married, right across the street from the palace

getting wedding pictures in the park next to the palace, this park
"Jardines de Sabatini" literally my top place in Madrid when I was there with SMH I spent so much time here it is so relaxing and beautiful

they love their ham- they even made a museum for it

Saw the most amazing show of my life in Madrid. A dance/ play. Incredible incredible special affects, dancing, singing like I can't even explain how amazing it was, so many people cried and didn't really know why it was just so powerful with so many different stories and ways to interpret what was going on. Juan tried to explain the family dynamic to me which he did very well, still, just mind boggling. 


french beer that is absolutely delish

at the kapital in madrid, 7 story club 

me and little dess, the best club I have ever been to by far the best dj i have ever heard, place was packed until closing time, people really go around the metro times, metro closes at 1:30 so thats when you get on and head to the club, metro opens back up at 6 AM so thats what's what time the club closes and you head home, haha Spaniards are crazy!

at another contemporary art museum, lots of cool stuff