HELLOOOOO WORLD!!!! Or at least the 15 humans who read these posts. This is Helen Julia Culpepper the 2nd reporting for blog duty, so settle down because stuff happened.
So as you probably know we went to Marrakech, which is a lot harder to spell than you would think, literally it took me the last five minutes of precious time I could spend doing nothing. So there’s not a lot to say that hasn’t been said about Marrakech but I’ll fill in some blanks. First the staff at our Riad absolutely ROCKED and were so kind to the point where it got ridiculous, with little Attica insisting on carrying our hundred pound suitcases up two flights of stairs. Besides Attica there was Frauda the motorcyclist so obviously the coolest, Selma who could be a model, and M-something who did our henna, oh god, I totally forgot the rest of her name… moving on from my stupidity let’s address the heat in Morocco, which is totally relative. For instance, when we first came to Marrakech it was oppressive and then after the desert the 88 degree Atlas Mountains were downright chilly. Speaking of the desert that was the next place we went after Marrakech (thank god I don’t have to use this city name anywhere else in this post because it’s annoyed me so much I refuse to learn how to spell it without auto-correct) was the Sahara desert, which is One of the hottest places on earth and one of the greatest places on earth to brag to your friends that you’ve been. Entering the desert saw the return of our favorite Moroccan, Aziz. He just left us about two hours ago and watching him in the rear view mirror become smaller and smaller as we drove off stung my eyes. He’s like a Moroccan big brother teasing and pushing me but really concerned when I’m hurt, like when I got sick on the way to the desert and he would ask me every hour how I was doing. But I’m not one bit worried for him. He knows seven languages and has not had a day of school, so I expect we’ll be seeing him soon heading some multi billion dollar corporation.
Moving on from the sappy stuff, last night, our last night in the desert, we and the staff had a TOTAL jam session! It started when I played monarch on the harp while they beat a drum beat to it. Later I joined in with the drums which took more concentration than trigonometry. Next Maddy sang us a song and then to the drums I joined in with her for our family’s traditional songs on my mom’s side, taking turns with the harmonies. Next the whole gang was up dancing, and Shea finally showed us that she could spin like a boss.
So any desert trip is not complete without camels and there were even some familiar faces from last time like Ziggy, who looks like an old racing camel, Baby, a little white camel, and Romeo, the living walking bladder. I rode a new one named Yuoften who liked to ride up behind the other camels and stare at them with complete indifference as if to assert that their existence was less than dirt. I liked his sass. Later I rode Ziggy which was a nice blast from two years ago.
Now speaking of animals of the desert, sadly I did not see any cool bugs but we did get quite attached to the kitties. There was a black and white small cat and then our personal cat comedian we named Prego, as she is an absolutely TINY and skinny pregnant tabby cat. She would jump in and out of our tents looking for places to have kittens when the time came but she would get into the stupidest predicaments ever, like balancing on a steel rail on top of a bed giving us all a heart attack when she slipped. Luckily Shea caught her and like the hilarious cat she is she promptly did it again.
So anyways lastly I wanted to talk about , my favorite part of this trip and in fact the last two years’ trips all together. It was when we went to the Amazigh family’s home out on the plateau. The Amazigh, Tamazigh for women, is the actual name for the Berber peoples that doesn’t mean barbarian by the way. This family has two wives and we were lucky enough to see the second wife and all the children that morning. We sat down in a tent for some tea made graciously by the mother. All the kids eventually swarmed us, eager for some new entertainment besides their normal games. There were about eight or ten of them, all never went to school like Aziz and never had fancy tech like iPhones or laptops in their little nomadic tent village. They quickly took to the phones, my aunts showed them though, so they were atleast a bit familiar with their workings. It was incredible to see them figure out how to operate the phones in just minutes. The special moment of the day came when I wanted to remember the kids who were SO CUTE, so I started taking Polaroid pictures of them with my trusty camera and in the matter of seconds POOF, all my film was gone. I simply couldn’t help myself! As soon as the kids saw the little white photograph inch out of the camera I gave it to them and they were absolutely hooked. One even figured out how to shake the photo and showed all the others how as they eagerly awaited round my camera for their own photo, pushing each other to proudly show their brothers and sisters their new treasures. I hope they’ll keep the photos to look back on years from now. As we bumped away in the four by four, my face hurt from smiling at them in the distance still glued to their own images magically appearing. Taught me how many little miracles we enjoy day to day, like a little white slip of paper emerging from a blue contraption that mimics a memory you believe was precious enough to keep.
See you in a few,