Spain-Morocco tour: Part 2 – Morocco
The article, “Spain-Morocco tour: Part 1 – Spain”, published in this blog last Saturday (6 January 2018), begins: “In mid-December last year (2017), 18 people from various parts of Singapore went together for a 12-day holiday tour of Spain and Morocco. It was an enjoyable trip with everybody in the group and the tour leader bonding together, joking and laughing during the entire trip.”
The final paragraph of the article states: “After our tour of Spain, we crossed the Gulf of Gibraltar by ferry to Morocco. Zamree was all excited and wore a tarboosh as if he wanted to meet his long lost elder brother. Find out about this person in the Spain-Morocco tour article, “Part 2 – Morocco”, to be published in this blog soon.”
So, who is the person, the look-alike of Mr Zamree Mustapha in the two pictures shown below?
Well, he is none other than the king of Morocco, Mohammed VI, in the picture on the left, given above. He ascended to the throne on 23 July 1999 upon the death of his father, King Hassan ll. He has brought many changes and improvements to Morocco, an interesting nation that is developing fast.
The highlights of the tour include visits to:
• Tangier – Old Medina and the Kasbah: The old Medina is a lively walled city with its alleyways which are filled with shops and tea-houses. The tour in Tangiers includes walking in the alleys within the Kasbah walls and a visit to the old but large Tangier Grand Mosque.
• Fez – Medina and Bouanania Mosque: The tour in Fez, capital of Morocco, includes a visit the Mosque of Bouanania and exploring the Medina with its typical bazaars, an area which has been designated Unesco World Heritage of Humanity Site, as well as wandering through Medina’s souks (markets) and alleys which are unchanged since the Middle Ages.
• Marrakech – Saadian Tombs and Jemaa el Fna Square: Another highlight in the city is the visit to the Koutoubia Mosque
• Casablanca – Mosque of Hassan II: The highlights is not only visiting the magnificent Mosque of King Hassan II, but also enjoying the splendid sunset at the beach of “Ain sbai”.
What is very interesting about Morocco is that everywhere there are palm trees, neatly in rows along roads and artistically arranged in parks, roundabouts and special areas.
“The Moroccan Gang”
The members who went for the Spain-Morocco tour seem to like being referred to as the “Moroccan Gang”. Let me reintroduce them here.
From left, Latifah Ibrahim and her husband, Maznan; Noor and his wife, Latiffah Majid; and Aminah and her husband, Masod.
From left, Shaik Kadir and his wife, Khairon; Said and his wife, Khatijah; and Zamree and his wife, Sutinah.
Mdm Simah and her youngest granddaughter, Nasyitha; Marlah and colleague, Juita; and Nadiah and her younger sister, Nabilah.
More photos of the “Moroccan Gang”
Mr Mohammed Said…
“Morocco is beautiful with lots of land, much covered with agricultural produce. The views are also beautiful – mountains, plains and rivers. I like Morocco also because of its historical buildings, beautiful and large mosques and many Islamic sites. Some places we visited did not change since old times and these makes Morocco unique. But there are also some negative things to say, like many of the alleys are not clean and some sellers follow us and were persistent to sell their wares but this, I guess, is because they are poor as also happens in some Asian countries.”
– Mr Mohammed Said
As in Spain, I’m enthralled by the Islamic architectural designs of mosques, Islamic institutions and private homes.
The mosques in Morocco are large and beautiful, and the King Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca beat them all in size and internal beauty.
The mosque, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is the 13th largest in the world. It’s minaret is the world’s tallest at 210 metres high and a laser at its top beams its light towards Mecca.
The walls of the interior of the mosque are of hand-crafted marble and the roof is retractable.
We had the opportunity to perform the Friday prayers in this huge mosque.
What are they up to?
These four people look like they are from the “Moroccan Gang”. But, are they in exuberance or in fright?
Roses are irresistible for romantic occasions and expression of love. Here are a couple of quotes about roses:
• “Love planted a rose, and the world turned sweet.” – Katharine Lee Bates
• “A single rose can be my garden… a single friend, my world.” – Leo Buscaglia
“If you love the rose, leave it on its stem. Don’t pluck it and give it to your darling and make the plant lose its charm.” – Shaik Kadir
Charm of the giant tea-kettle and the tagine
According to Wikipedia, tagine is a Moroccon dish which is named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. Even the small one is quite heavy to carry and can easily break.
Pix (2 slides)
Khairon is not so much interested in getting a tagine but she wanted to buy a giant tea-kettle, saying it would be useful for serving tea at home when guests come for Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. But when she heard the exorbitant price, she was shocked and started rubbing the kettle hard and surprisingly a genie sprang out of it and gave her a tagine.
Upon returning home, instead of cooking a meal herself, she asked her 3½-year old granddaughter to cook a dish for dinner, and the little girl, who loves cooking and admires chefs, did two dishes – an egg dish and a chicken dish. “Really tasty dishes, thanks, Iffah.”
Some unique Moroccan wares and souvenirs…
Ms Nadiah Zamree…
“As a History student in JC, I have always been interested on learning about past civilisations and hence, the trip to Spain and Morocco was extremely meaningful to me.
The trip also gave me the opportunity to widen my world views. As I listened to the stories told by the tour guides at the tourist locations, my thoughts ran wild as I tried hard to imagine what it must have been like in the past.
I was especially intrigued by the beautiful Islamic architecture in Spain. I find it bizarre that the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba still reveals some of its former Islamic prominence, especially in elements of Islamic architectural designs.
I must also say that I have formed a nice friendship with the group members.”
– Ms Nadiah Zamree, National University of Singapore student
More of you, more of Morocco
Oh my goodness! Why are members of the “Morrocan Gang” looking sad and standing in a straight row? Why? Why? Why?
Have they been arrested for buying too many Moroccan souvenirs and waiting to be questioned by the police, or are they very hungry and angry waiting long for their makan?
Yes, no one forgets the three meals a day – to be energetic to travel long distances in the coach and to walk long distances too to places of interest.
Teh Tarik? Looks like the tarik (pull) is longer than in Singapore….
Ms Noor Marlah Mahmood…
“Between Spain and Morocco, I personally like Morocco more. Perhaps it was the knowledgeable guide who gave us a thorough and interesting commentary on the different places or maybe Morocco was just more exotic to me.
Fes and Marrakech are wonderful with rich history. I would never have guessed that behind the narrow alleys of the Medina are beautiful and splendid restaurants, shops and living quarters.
I was really inspired by the cacti fences in the Moroccan countryside. An ingenious way to go green and add more oxygen to the environment.
I must also add that the group was fabulous – the members were cheerful, helpful, warm and inclusive travel companions. I pray that we will all move on from being great travel companions to precious friends. Alhamdulillah. Ameen.”
– Ms Noor Marlah Mahmood
The helpful Nabilah
As in Spain, Nabilah Zamree is always helpful in assisting Nani Khairon during the long walks to places of interest.
“Thank you, Nabilah. Nani loves you.”
And, thank you to all for the wonderful companionship we enjoyed during the entire Spain-Morocco holiday trip. Keep the friendship going, Moroccan Gang!
13 January 2018