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Africa Wilderness with a capital W ! Paradise like landscapes, the Kilimandjaro and the Nile, huts and victorian architecture. Africa is a crossroads of civilizations, the land before time.

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Old 06-19-2006, 09:41 PM   #1
 
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In September I'm looking at heading to Spain, Porugal, ending up in Morocco in October, here's the itinerary:

Tangier Casablanca 2 days
Rabat - 2 days
Fes - 3 days
Midelt - 2 days on Jebel Ayachi-mountain to climb
Merzouga - 2 days in Erg Chebbi-camels in the sahara
Dades Gorge -2 days Rock the Kasbah, rock the Kasbah
Marrakech




Best map I could find

Has anyone climbed Jebel Ayachi, have any recomendations? It sounds like a fairly easy climb, nothing too intense,

Same with Erg Chebbi, camel treks? Looking to trek out, camp, trek back, based out of Merzouga, unless there are better places to set off from...

And things to do in the Dades Gorge? Little Berber villages etc. Something relaxing before the bustle of Marrakech

Also, it seems I may be there at the start of Ramadan, if I'm not mistaken, it could be around 15th of October. May add some difficulty but I think it'd be a pretty cool thing to experience. Other than the obvious, any particular behaviours or taboos I should be aware of as a visitor?

In the hopes of getting invited in to someone's home for a dinner I'm gonna go prepared with a gift, I was thinking a bottle of ice wine from the Okanagan, where my family lives. But of course, I hear that alcohol is not allowed by Muslim law, so....that may not be received well. Is that a real concern, or is it more like how we view sex before marriage and on the one hand but and on the other?

Any other insights on the route are most welcome, thanks for any advice.

And if have some Spain/Portugal know-how, check out my post in w europe forum.
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Old 06-20-2006, 12:22 AM   #2
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Sounds awesome, be prepared to be blown away.

Get out of Tangier on the first possible train to Casa. There's nothing you won't see elsewhere on your trip. When you come out of the port (I assume you're taking a boat), (get money in the port area), then ignore the "friends" who just want to practice their English, and head straight to the train station. You can't really blame people for trying to make a living, but it gives a poor first impression of an otherwise wonderful country.
If you speak some obscure language, like Lithuanian, rely on that to discourage them until you get to the station.

There are two stations in Casablanca. Make sure you know which one you want!

We arrived the day after Eid and stayed with a local family there (school friend of my husband), so we enjoyed the post Ramadan feasting, without the fasting. However, it is important to know that during the day, especially in smaller places, food will not be readily available. Stock up on stuff to get you through the day when the shops are open early in the morning or late at night, and when you are eating during the day, be as discreet as possible. You know how you feel when you missed lunch and see someone eating a huge meal? Imagine a country. For a month. The weather will be decent, but during the middle of the day, you might choose to take a strategic "nap" in your room, and eat there. After sundown, go out and enjoy the incredible food and the atmosphere.

Dress respectably, look at what the people your age are wearing and don't go more casual than that. I wore a dress for the first day in Casa, but then our host told me shorts were fine for the city, and I lived in those. But walking shorts, not Victoria's Secret... You'll probably end up going local at some point, which is cool. My sister-in-law is married to a Moroccan, and on a recent trip (two Julys back) she wore jeans the whole time. TOO HOT!

As for the wine, I'd say that's a bit dodgy. Sure you'll meet people who drink, but if you take wine to hosts who don't, uh...not so good. This might seem a bit strange, but from the Okanagan, what about something made from peaches? Dried or preserves would probably go over well, because the local cuisine uses figs and dates a lot, it might be an interesting flavour for your local hosts. I usually take small pieces of native art with me - key chains, small wooden or pewter boxes, pendants, brooches, that kind of thing. Not pierced earrings, though. They are distinctly Canadian/BC, and can be given to both men and women without alarm.

Also, keep in mind that if you are invited to a family meal, there will likely be children of varous ages in the household (our friend was the 3rd of 10, ranging in age from 25 to 2), so it wouldn't hurt to take along some small toys - inflatable balls are universally a hit, light and compact in your pack - for that crowd. If you can get one that has a globe printed on it, you can show them where you're from which is always good for a conversation starter. Lightweight paperback tourist books of your hometown/region/country are also good - try to make sure there's a picture of where you actually live, or take a photo along so they can see your natural environment - how is it different? How the same?

Also take a photo of your family, these are always a big hit. Extended family works, too - Morocco is a very family oriented culture, so you won't be boring them with pointing out uncles, aunts, cousins-thrice-removed...

Have an incredible time. It sounds amazing.

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Old 06-20-2006, 08:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by tumblezweedz@Jun 20 2006, 07:22 AM
My sister-in-law is married to a Moroccan
[snapback]127133[/snapback]
Wow, great advice! I'm still puzzling out the family relationship here, though. Isn't a sister in law by definition married to one of your brothers? Or is it your husband's sister? Wouldn't that be actually no relationship at all? D'oh! I'm soooo confused...(and sorry for the off topic babble...).

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Old 06-20-2006, 01:27 PM   #4
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She is the sister of my husband. I am her sister-in-law because I am married to her brother, so she is just as related to me as I am to her, so she must be my sister-in-law. Right? So her husband is my brother-in-law-in-law, I guess. Or perhaps he's my brother-in-law once removed? I just call him Ihssan. It's easier. And as I say, in a family-oriented society, all those connections count!


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Old 06-21-2006, 08:52 AM   #5
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I never knew that. I thought the only one in my sister-in-law's family (meaning HER brothers and sisters, Mom and Dad) that was technically in law was her. Hmm. Learn something new every day!

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Old 06-21-2006, 11:02 AM   #6
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Well, I don't know if it's officially correct or not, but "sister-in-law" is shorter than saying "my husband's sister", and "brother-in-law" is easier than "the husband of the sister of my husband"!

Your definition (a sister-in-law is married to one of your brothers) means that I (the wife of her brother) am her sister-in-law. If I am her sister-in-law, isn't it reciprocal, and she is mine?

I don't refer to my sister's husband's sisters as MY sisters-in-law, but by marrying my husband I became a member of his family, so I do have a relationship with his siblings that is sister-ly. I guess. Now you've got me so confused!

OH WAIT! I just looked it up. According to the Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary (1991):

sister-in-law: 1. the sister of one's wife or husband;
2. the wife of one's brother;
3. the wife of one's brother-in-law.

But NOT the sister of one's brother-in-law.

So you are correct in that the siblings of your sister-in-law are NOT "in-law" to you, but they are to your brother (1). And were you to marry, your wife would be "in-law" to your brother (2) and to your brother's wife (because you are "brother-in-law" to your brother's wife (3).)

And I can refer to Ihssan as my brother-in-law because he is the husband of my sister-in-law (3), who is my sister-in-law because she is the sister of my husband (1).

Isn't that just great. I can sleep tonight.
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Old 06-21-2006, 07:28 PM   #7
 
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Wow that is some awesome advice, thanks for the reply. Yeah I've been gathering that Tangier is not worth staying in, so I'll definately speed through. Good suggestions on the gifts, I love the inflatable globe idea, I'm gonna have to look for one of those!

Yeah I'll have khaki pants/cargo shorts and short sleeve button shirts to have some class when required, while still surviving the heat. I grew up in the Yukon, so I may have a lil more trouble with heat than others, we'll see...

I can't wait to go!!

So would a spouse's brother's wive's children be second cousins of your children, or second cousins once removed?
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