“BEYOND EXCELLENT!”

My Highlights were the crisscrossing of Morocco by car, from North to South, coast to desert, city to hill town, lush valleys to high mountain passes…

The whole on the ground experience with my driver Gjamal was incomparable to any trip I have had before…

I feel like I interacted with and truly, as you would say, EXPERIENCED Morocco.

Of course, the Camel trek was fantabulous, as well as the four very different medinas, the seaside and ramparts, the food, the EID feast at the home of Gjamal with sheep slaughter and feast following.

What a great way to start my trip…

Gjamal was the perfect driver for me, a difficult tourist. He was open and voluble in a knowledgeable witty and compassionate way, very open to learning about my life and country and able to take criticism or handle conflict, which is a rare trait in any man. He was co passionate about Morocco and made sure I saw way more than I had put down on my to-do list. He was very thorough in getting great in-city guides, picking restaurants, stopping for special views or experiences and being able to be flexible if/when I needed to change the schedule…

I cannot imagine my trip to Morocco without Gjamal. He was Sancho Panza to my Quixote and kept me grounded and closer to the earth, warning me and helping me avoid food or scam artists which would have destroyed the trip. He has a great heart and when he called me “brother” I knew he meant it and I felt the same way. Our discussions about his Islamic faith were also very insightful and he was open to ecumenical perspectives when I described my Christian/Hindu approach. I cannot say enough about GJamal. He is a truly admirable representative of his country, your company and his family. BEYOND EXCELLENT…..

The riads in Fes, Marrakesh and Essouria were my favorites.

I also loved the Xaluca suite, pre-desert…

I liked the El Jadida hotel but would rather have stayed in the Church building…rather than the American Consulate building. Some snafu over dinner was annoying.

I loved the hostess at the Repose in Sale. She was the most gracious and lovely in her welcoming with iced drink, cookies, tea; her Arabian Room was over the top, and I loved the exquisite dinner she prepared. She was the most memorable of the Riad staffs…

I loved the pacing of the trip; we spent just the right amount of time in each place.

I did get tired of the same food choices after a while and would have liked more flexibility to pick lunch and local/dinner places…

Mostly all the food was good; the fish in the coastal cities was excellent and a great break from the heavier meat fare.  We had one bad restaurant experience in Meknes but rectified it immediately.  I would probably have pushed more to have lighter lunches and more diversity on the second day dinners in the bigger cities.

The people I met with/through Gjamal were wonderful and my experience in general was to feel very welcomed, often being called ‘Ali Baba” by the locals…

I SHALL NEVER FORGET THIS JOURNEY… leading the camel trek in burnoose was an incomparable religious experience.

Thomas

October 2014

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