As much of Europe winds its way out of winter, the beaches and coastal towns of Morocco have usually been basking in the sun for some time. Although we’ve had more warm weather in California these past few winters than we would like, a little adventure is always welcome in this household. We hadn’t been “across the pond” in a couple years, and it seemed like another trip to Africa might do us some good. Turns out there’s some surf on the coast of Morocco, and they’ve even got some snowy peaks to walk up as well.
With throngs of tourists weaving their way through the beaches and souks of Western Morocco, it’s normal to see most locals carrying on without so much as batting an eyelash. Needless to say, foreign visitors do present a unique economic opportunity, and there will always be a new friend around the corner ready to welcome you to “Morocco, your second home”, and then advise you on your next souvenir purchase (“why come all the way here and not buy something to take away with you?”). The local tourist economy continues to adapt over time, teetering somewhere between selling traditional Moroccan goods and catering to the bizarre tastes of foreigners (handmade leather goods seem to have universal appeal, but most of the bohemian fare touted in the souk wouldn’t be worn by any self-respecting Moroccan).
If you’re looking for an edge over all the other carpet, handbag, and knickknack vendors but you’re feeling short on original ideas, it doesn’t hurt to rent out a camel or two. Looking more akin to a centenarian with poor hygiene than the cute creature in Disney’s “Aladdin”, most of these rent-a-camels might do better with a good dunk and scrub in the ocean than just pacing back and forth next to it. That being said, they do have an infectious smile (see photo #2), and they do seem to offer a surprisingly fun white-knuckled ride, though after all was said and done, we did opt for an alternate form of transportation in the end.