SELECT PHOTOS BY ANDREW FREIRICH
During my travels to the Southern Coast of Spain, I set some time aside to venture off on a trip to Tangiers in Morocco. This would be my first time to the continent of Africa. Awakening at 4 a.m. I packed my bag, met up with a small group and we made our way to the ferry which would shuttle us across the straight of Gilbrator into Tangiers. On board, I also met other travelers from all over the world. Ever since I was nine years old, this was one of the most fascinating parts of traveling, it still hasn’t changed.
The ferry had this resounding chatter of dozens of languages and the smell of foods that gave hint that you were far from home.
I took it all in, and gave thanks that my work enabled me to travel all over the world. One family traveling with three young children were from the Faroh Islands located in the Norwegian Sea. I was intrigued by their confidence in traveling with children that young to places far off the beaten path. They told me that it was a part of their Nordic culture in traveling to unknown parts, and their ancestors did the same. I thought for a moment and smiled, and wished them safe travels.
As the ferry was approaching the port, the loud speaker announced in a variety of languages to prepare your passports and documents for entry into Africa and Morocco. Once I passed customs, I made my way into town. I found myself immersed in a culture that looked like it had not changed for centuries. Spotting a snake charmer on the street, I knew I had to partake, and sure enough, the large serpent was draped around my neck hissing at the passers by. The old man assured me that I was not on the snakes menu for dinner. I took my pictures with the Cobra and checked that off my bucket list.
The rest of my day, I explored the the central market, where most of the spice traders, rug merchants, food vendors, and restaurants were located. I also meandered around the cities narrow streets, where the people, culture, and abodes were encapsulated in time. Capturing this on camera, would always provide me with a snap shot along with my fond memories. Tangiers is a tourist destination, so most residents know you are just taking in the sights.
Towards the end of the day, I ventured off to the meeting point where I would select my camel for my trek into the Moroccan desert the next day. After some time of sizing me up, I had my camel. I then made my way back into town, to meet up with some other tourists for dinner. We sampled a typical Tangier’s dinner filled with lamb, a variety of veggies, rice, breads, sauces and spices known for that region. Musicians played as we enjoyed our bountiful dinner.
Early next morning, I had my coffee, a small danish, fruit and then made my way, to the meeting spot where we would embark on our trek into the Moroccan desert. Packed with plenty of water, lamb jerky, a few energy bars, and my camera I was excited for my next adventure. We were instructed to bring hats and bandanas. The bandanas would serve to protect us from the strong winds that kicked up millions of granules of sand along the way. We made our way up five story sand dunes and back down into gullies. The desert has its own landscape that constantly changes every day.
Looking off into the horizon, I imagined myself, alone and what it would have been like millenniums ago making my way by camel through the Moroccan desert.
It was November, so the heat would not be a factor. After 4 hours of trekking, the guides found a spot where we would have our meal and rest. My lower half could sure use the break as well. Walking like I rode a camel for 4 hours I made my way into a tent, where we would rest, and get ready for a true Moroccan desert meal. We all ate hearty and relaxed in our small oasis. After some time of taking it all in, we packed up, and began our way back. Along the way, my camera must have decided to take it’s own walk, and that was the last of it. It’s buried in the desert and will live there until the sands of time, make it appear for someone in the future.
Venturing off into another part of the world and immersing myself into an ancient culture, left me with an indelible memory of Morocco I will always remember!