I’m going to put more pictures than usual, since I’ve been too lazy to post this and will use less words. Hopefully the fantastic pictures will help you forget that I’m not writing as much.
We left Friday morning at 6 am—yikes. It was about two hours to the port, an hour boat ride, and then an hour ride from the border to Tetuan, where we were staying. It’s interesting because Spain has two cities on the border of Morocco—Ceuta and Melilla—so when we got off the boat on the African continent, we were still technically in the nation of Spain. Anyway…
As this was a cultural AND academic trip with our teaching program, our first stop was to a bilingual primary school in Tetuan. It was a very small school—about 55 children. All 17-18 of us gathered in the principal’s office and he offered us tea and pastries as he talked a little bit about how the school operated. Then we separated into two groups to observe different classes; one group went to an Arabic class (it’s their first language in Morocco, so this class was kind of like what a reading class in elementary class would be), and I went with a group to a French class. The kids were around 9 years old, and were learning basic French. I personally learned how to say comb, elephant, and snow. This picture is one of the many moments when the teacher asked the class a question and, just like kids in Spain, they all inch forward in their seats or even stand up and wiggle one finger in the air to be called on.
When we left the school, we ate lunch, while a man with fire on his head entertained us. We went to our hotel, dropped off our things (I might be slightly out of order on this sequence of events…), and went to the University of Tetuán. We met with the dean/director, and then sat in on an English class. It was really interesting; it was taught by a Fulbright ETA (English Teaching Assistant), and she had put together a special lesson knowing we were coming. The lesson was reading parts of Obama’s speech given in the Middle East in 2009, and then breaking into discussion groups to argue which point was the most important. We split up evenly, and it was really interesting to hear the students’ perspectives. They were almost unanimously in favor of democracy over all other points (other things Obama mentioned in the speech were working on the Israeli/Palestine conflict, nuclear powers, economic development, women’s rights, etc). The students (who were pretty evenly divided by gender, I might add) were quick to say how they wanted a better government, more rights, and wanted the same opportunities that we have.
After the class, all of the students walked with us down to the beach/boardwalk-y area and we had a free 90 minutes or so. We chatted about various things, and I mistakenly struck up a very long, intense conversation with one student about the political system in Morocco. That was complicated. BUT it was interesting to learn that there were some very mild protests (all peaceful) during the Arab spring, and they are “reforming” their constitution this summer (but don’t think anything will change).
This is some of the students, me, and another girl from my program at the beach in Tetuan!
Then we were exhausted, ate dinner, played a few rounds of a game (Loaded Questions) in one of our hotel rooms, and went to bed. Unfortunately I woke up an hour early to shower the next morning (my phone didn’t change with the Moroccan time change!), and ended up napping after my shower.
We went into La Medina (the central, ancient/old part of Tetuan) for a few hours with our wonderful tour guide, Abdul, but he had us call him Michael Douglas (there really was no resemblance, but who was I to argue). We saw the mosque, a synagogue from far away, a plaza, and walked through a bunch of narrow streets that were having a market. The colors, smells, and sights of these streets were indescribable. I saw many chickens (both live and dead), smelled a lot of awful fish, but also saw a ton of beautifully colorful vegetables and fruits like in these pictures:
We had lunch, then took a bus ride for an hour or so into Tangier. We toured the city a bit on our bus (really beautiful), then stopped at this lookout point where there is this ridiculously old lighthouse. This is where the Atlantic Ocean & the Mediterranean meet (coolllll).
I’m smiling so enthusiastically, for your information, because on the other side of a camera is a baby donkey.
After spending a little while here and getting pestered by peddlers/salesmen people, we went to ride camels! Unfortunately it wasn’t as authentic as I had hoped—we didn’t trek through the desert. It was just this little patch on the side of the road where everyone stopped and got to ride around for 5 minutes. Oh well… still good. Except for the camels crying :(
This is me trying to kiss a baby camel. I also have a lot of pictures of me ON the camel (don’t worry Mom & Dad). Can you tell that he’s pursing his lips too?
We visited some caves afterwards (called the Caves of Hercules I think) which had a really beautiful opening into the ocean, but if I put every wonderful picture here, who will ever sit through my 3 hour slideshow later?
We were sooo tired on Saturday night. Crashed. Sunday morning we woke up even earlier. Took a bus ride out to a smaller village called Chefchaouen (I think that’s how it’s spelled). Really beautiful, out in the mountains, but still exposed to a good bit of tourism, and for good reason.
The entire town/pueblo is painted (with natural paint or some sort) in an aqua/turquoise color, partly because it keeps the buildings cool during the summer and also because the bugs don’t like it (is what I think our guide said).
Got back to Sevilla around 11pm Sunday night, made a lesson plan, and taught Monday morning!
Nothin’ special happened this week. Da end.