A Root Journey to Al-Mamlaka al-Maghribiya (in Arabic) aka Morocco
Kobi here. Kobi, the great Nomadic Dad. :-). Before all, please visit my new blog as a Nomadic Dad.
Israel, a country of diversity. Though we are called the Land of Milk and Honey, Israel is quite diverse in may ways: land, cultures, religions,synagogues vs. mosques vs. churches, etc. I was born to an Israeli generation, means I was born in Israel, unlike my parents. My parents immigrated to Israel as teenagers escaping Jewish prosecutions. My dad is from Halab, Sirya and my mom from Morocco (today officially, Kingdom of Morocco). As a child, my parents had been talking about going back one day to visit the hometown and see how their countries had changed. I am sure such a visit will surface great memories and even some confusions. As Israeli-Jews, there is not way we can visit Syria unless we purchase a one-way ticket. But with Morocco the picture is different. Israelis are allowed to get into Morocco and more importantly, are allowed to leave.
I have no idea when this will happen, but one of my dreams is taking my parents, or at least my mom, back to Morocco to visit. I know she had mentioned it few times in the past and I know she will appreciate it big time. I myself am excited about the notion of seeing where my mom was born and spent her young years. I will be able to see where my grandparents had their vast fields before the need to flea the country.
I know things were not good for Jews back in the days so I did some reading about how things are generally in Morocco today. I found out that things are not as stable as I thought, though for tourism the picture is better. The way the government in Morocco is that there is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King holds great power in his hands including most executive and legislative powers, including the power to dissolve the parliament. How Ironic is that. And though the government can make Executive decisions, the King can easily put veto and override the government decision. It seems to me like a democratic dictatorship.
Anyway, I am sure, with population of over 32 million, Morocco has a lot to offer its visitors.
If you visit Casablanca (which is, by the way, in Spanish “White House”), Fez, Rabat, or Tangier, I am confident you will find a lot of great places to visit. For example:
Djemaa el Fna, Marrakesh
You can go to this amazing city square festival to enjoy a conglomeration of acrobats, story tellers, musicians and snake charmers. Every night people of interest get together in the city square to entertain and have some great local food. We love night markets and festivals, especially when they have the super authentic feel.
Souks, all through Morocco (local markets)
Where ever you are you should always take a turn towards the local souks and feast your eyes. There is so much on display here that you can literally spend hours just looking at it all. Prices are usually not too bad either. I myself, love local markets and will surely visit them.
Kasbah Glaoui, Telouet
This amazing relic conjures up images of horse-mounted Arab and Berber warriors riding through plains of Telouet. It is truly inspiring and well worth a visit. I would love to see this new kind of art, so different from what we’ve found throughout Latin America and South East Asia.
Since I am a nature love and prefer be on the open vs in big cities, Morocco offers great outdoor activities which I might explore as well:
- The Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve
- The Mediterranean Intercontinental Biosphere Reserve of Morocco and Spain
- Oasis Du Sud Marocain Biosphere Reserve
- High Atlas Mountains – exploring scenic hiking trails in Africa’s largest mountain range
I am sure Morocco has much to offer to its millions of visitors (annually) with the vast options to explore this amazing country. I had learned that the Moroccan government is heavily investing in tourism development.
In order to benefit such a visit in such a country, I believe planned trip can save many frustrations and surprises. I know there are many agencies out there offering great deals to visit Morocco, so check it out and have fun. I know I will.
And as I write this, I remember my mom’s great Moroccan cooking, especially the Cuscus.
Finally, here are 10 cool facts about Morocco:
- The capital of Morocco is Rabbat, while its currency is Moroccan dirham.
- Moroccan pipes can’t handle toilet paper, so you have to throw all toilet paper in a trash can. This was a difficult habit to make and will now be a difficult habit to break.
- Morocco is situated in North Africa and it is the only African country that is presently not a member of the ‘African Union’.
- In Morocco, if you make eye contact with someone of the opposite sex and smile, to them this is a sign that you are romantically interested in them.
- Moroccan cuisine is a mixture of European and African cuisine, due to its location between Europe and Africa.
- Many native Moroccans can speak both Arabic and French; they are happy to speak to you in French as a common language, but strongly prefer you to at least TRY to speak some Arabic. They are quick to admit that Arabic is one of the most difficult languages to learn, however.
- Morocco is the second largest producers of roses in the world (I imagine Mexico is the largest). Morocco grows apples, bananas, lemons, limes, walnuts, almonds, olives, figs, dates as well as orange cherries.
- The full Arabic name of Morocco is ‘Al-Mamlaka al-Maghribiya’, which translates to ‘The Western Kingdom’.
- Morocco gained independence from France in 1956.
- Most of the Moroccans eat things made from wheat and barley.
I think traveling the world before we had kids, and especially now with the kids, has made more more curious, more thirsty to know more and more about so many place in the world. We’ve done the US, Latin America, and are now in Asia. I know there is so much more to do in each place we have been in. Still, I’m always drawn to what I know nothing about. Morocco would be very, very cool, because of my personal history (I’m half Moroccan) and cuz I’m just interested.
Ever been to Morocco? Ever been somewhere else where the history, culture, art drew you in? Ever exploded the countries of your roots? I will love to hear your personal angel.
I love blogging. Gabi should go away more often. 🙂 Don’t tell her, but I miss her. So again, visit my new blog that i talk about everything a Nomadic Dad can… (and shouldn’t)
Images courtesy of James Barker, Dino De Luca, think4photop / FreeDigitalPhotos.net