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"Surfing... but in November" by Jaycee Miller

"Surfing... but in November" by Jaycee Miller

Green March is a national holiday celebrated in Morocco on November 6th, and this year it fell on a Tuesday. Schools, administrative, and government buildings are closed on this occasion, and therefore we had a day off from school at AMIDEAST Rabat.  Alhamdullah , a group of friends and I were able to carefully coordinate a long weekend including that Tuesday to travel and experience some Moroccan cities quite far from Rabat, that would otherwise be difficult to fit into just one weekend due to time constraints. Traveling throughout Morocco has proven to be quite easy, especially with the robust tourism infrastructure to which the country is dedicated. The last few weeks in Rabat have actually been quite cold and rainy, and after a fall break spent in Spain and Malta (which were both drenched in sunshine) we decided to chase the sun one last time before “fall” really took over the country. “Medina of Essaouira” Photo Credit: J. Miller, Fall 2018

Green March is a national holiday celebrated in Morocco on November 6th, and this year it fell on a Tuesday. Schools, administrative, and government buildings are closed on this occasion, and therefore we had a day off from school at AMIDEAST Rabat. Alhamdullah, a group of friends and I were able to carefully coordinate a long weekend including that Tuesday to travel and experience some Moroccan cities quite far from Rabat, that would otherwise be difficult to fit into just one weekend due to time constraints. Traveling throughout Morocco has proven to be quite easy, especially with the robust tourism infrastructure to which the country is dedicated. The last few weeks in Rabat have actually been quite cold and rainy, and after a fall break spent in Spain and Malta (which were both drenched in sunshine) we decided to chase the sun one last time before “fall” really took over the country. “Medina of Essaouira” Photo Credit: J. Miller, Fall 2018

The port city of Essaouira, known as Mogador until the 1960s, is a vibrant, historic town with a traditional medina. When I told my host dad I was planning on visiting, he told me it was a center of hippie culture in Morocco and insisted that the music scene was unmatched throughout the world. It’s several hundred miles south of Rabat down the coast, and took us over eight hours to get to, first via train to Marrakech, and then by bus. My impression once we began exploring the medina the next day was that my host dad was so right. I marveled at the town’s reflection of the legacies of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley, who seemed to be celebrated dearly. There were music stores and art galleries everywhere, and a considerable amount of people wore their hair in locks. It felt like a completely different Morocco. We ate fresh seafood for dinner under a clear night sky, and the weather reminded me of a breezy early September evening in New York. “Moroccan mint sold in the medina” Photo Credit: J. Miller, Fall 2018

The port city of Essaouira, known as Mogador until the 1960s, is a vibrant, historic town with a traditional medina. When I told my host dad I was planning on visiting, he told me it was a center of hippie culture in Morocco and insisted that the music scene was unmatched throughout the world. It’s several hundred miles south of Rabat down the coast, and took us over eight hours to get to, first via train to Marrakech, and then by bus. My impression once we began exploring the medina the next day was that my host dad was so right. I marveled at the town’s reflection of the legacies of Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley, who seemed to be celebrated dearly. There were music stores and art galleries everywhere, and a considerable amount of people wore their hair in locks. It felt like a completely different Morocco. We ate fresh seafood for dinner under a clear night sky, and the weather reminded me of a breezy early September evening in New York. “Moroccan mint sold in the medina” Photo Credit: J. Miller, Fall 2018

Our next stop was Agadir, further south down the coast again. Despite mild motion sickness on the bus, the drive was beautiful. That’s the thing about Morocco - it’s so incredibly geographically diverse. We drove along the coast for hours, elevated slightly and looking down as the waves beat the shore. The city of Agadir was so different from Essaouira. It’s modern and the medina is set back away from the water, unlike Essaouira. Above the entire city is a thin hazy layer of fog which I later found out is the basis of the world’s largest fog-collection project there and can then be turned into drinking water. Agadir’s coast had larger and more consistent sets of waves, so the second day there my friend Nate and I decided to surf. We’ve both surfed before, and it was so exciting to have the chance to do it outside of the United States in  November , which, in the Northern Atlantic where I’m from, is way too cold for sunny beach days. We were able to rent boards and wetsuits (the water was  shwiya  cold) for an hour and head out with the locals. “You’re the first Miller to check the “Africa” box on your list of continents to surf,” Nate told me once we were back on shore. While we dried off in the sun, I kept thinking that back home in New York, the forecast called for lake effect snow. “Nate and Jaycee suited up to surf in Agadir” Photo Credit: J. Miller, Fall 2018

Our next stop was Agadir, further south down the coast again. Despite mild motion sickness on the bus, the drive was beautiful. That’s the thing about Morocco - it’s so incredibly geographically diverse. We drove along the coast for hours, elevated slightly and looking down as the waves beat the shore. The city of Agadir was so different from Essaouira. It’s modern and the medina is set back away from the water, unlike Essaouira. Above the entire city is a thin hazy layer of fog which I later found out is the basis of the world’s largest fog-collection project there and can then be turned into drinking water. Agadir’s coast had larger and more consistent sets of waves, so the second day there my friend Nate and I decided to surf. We’ve both surfed before, and it was so exciting to have the chance to do it outside of the United States in November, which, in the Northern Atlantic where I’m from, is way too cold for sunny beach days. We were able to rent boards and wetsuits (the water was shwiya cold) for an hour and head out with the locals. “You’re the first Miller to check the “Africa” box on your list of continents to surf,” Nate told me once we were back on shore. While we dried off in the sun, I kept thinking that back home in New York, the forecast called for lake effect snow. “Nate and Jaycee suited up to surf in Agadir” Photo Credit: J. Miller, Fall 2018

"Taking Off After Tangier" by Gwenyth Szabo

"Taking Off After Tangier" by Gwenyth Szabo

"Cooking & Communication," by Alexandra Hyatt

"Cooking & Communication," by Alexandra Hyatt