KelsieGleason's Travel Journals

KelsieGleason Kelsie Gleason

  • 28 years old
  • From Illinois, United States
  • Currently in Barcelona, Spain

Visions and Revisions: Discovering the Culture of Barcelona

This journal will serve as a collection of my experiences, observations, and reflections over the next four months of cultural immersion in Barcelona.

Morocco Exchange

Morocco Marrakech, Morocco  |  Apr 05, 2011
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Just got back from a 5 day trip to Morocco on Sunday (well, technically Monday morning at 2:30am). It was a great experience and I’m so glad I went. We flew into Marrakech last Wednesday and spent the day getting acquainted with the city. We went to the square and changed money, shopped a little, had tea, and talked to local university students. The second day in Marrakech we walked around with more of the students and got to know them. They were really interesting and very friendly. They didn’t seem all that different from US students except for how much more work ethic they have. Some of them spoke 6 languages! I think the fewest number of languages that any of them spoke was 4… makes me feel lame for barely being able to speak 2! We also met with a professor that talked about relationships between Islamic countries and the West, which was interesting. He was very eloquent and spoke English very well, and like most people there he recognizes that the government and the people of the US are two very different things. On the third day we drove to Amzmiz, a smaller village about an hour from Marrakech. The highlight of the trip was definitely getting to ride a camel on the way out of town! It felt like riding western on a fat horse, and when the camel got up and down it was like a mechanical bull ride! The people in Amzmiz were really friendly as well, and the town was so small that everyone knew everybody in the town. We played a soccer game with the students and talked to them for a while. We walked around the center of the town to see a blacksmith and a potter’s workshop, and then we had a talent show where we sang songs from our cultures and danced. We taught them how to fist pump and do the worm and they sang Arabic songs and showed us traditional dances. We stayed in homestays for the night and got to meet the families. Our family had an adorable 2 year old cousin that we played with for a while. Our host sister’s father had 2 wives and she was one of 6 kids from her mother. Her father lives in France and only comes to see them every once in a while, so I really admire her mother for raising that many kids basically on her own. Our host sister was really admirable too—she takes a bus to Marrakech every day just to go to university and then takes the bus back at night, and still finds time to help with cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the younger cousins. She speaks 5 languages and was really good at English after only studying it for a year! It was sad to say goodbye to all of our friends in Amzmiz when we left to go to Imlil, but we exchanged contact info so I’m sure we’ll stay in touch. Imlil was pretty cool too. It was a very tiny mountain town with lots of donkeys and little shops. The view of the Atlas Mountains was great and the hike in was beautiful. We spent one night there in a hotel before driving back to Marrakech to do some last minute shopping, eat lunch, and head to the airport. Those 5 days went by faster than I could have ever expected, but I will never forget all of the amazing people I met and the things I learned from them.

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