Second Time Around travel blog

Happy travelers


Morocco is surprisingly clean. I was expecting markets to be like those in India: A crush of people, open sewage, stray animals, and loads of trash. While busy with people and cats, markets and attractions were quite orderly. Only the mountain trail had noticeable litter, probably from tourists.

Cats seem to have been imported to Morocco specifically to help control mice and rats. They are everywhere. Many of the women in our group adore cats and would photograph them as often as possible.

Most public toilets were pay, with an attendant. I didn't mind forking over MD 1 or 5 for the privilege: it meant higher standards. I recall only one squat style, with Western predominating. Hotel toilets were fragile, breaking easily, and not designed to accept paper. Use the bin, please.

As a traveler in a group, it can be difficult to meet ordinary locals. We meet many in the hospitality industry, of course. Virtually all of our interactions were good.

My mystery rash cleared up with use of an antibiotic cream. The location of the rash on the outside calves of each leg cause me to wonder if I got something in my pants legs or my side of a bed. No idea. But it's gone.

Mo's cough is lingering but may be improving. I gave her some prescription antibiotic tablets left over from one of my recent health issues.

My own cough is about gone.

Our leader left us yesterday to join a labor protest. The Ministry that licenses guides has eased training requirements. Our leader trained for a year and took many exams to get his license. The Ministry has introduced a simple single exam that just about anyone can pass. Our leader and his peers are threatened by the liklihood of cheaper, inferior competition.

We tip our group leader. In our tip discussion, Mo pointed out some concern about group management in the mountains. I pointed out the help I received for the mystery rash pharmacy. We adjusted our tips accordingly.

We are the last of the tour group to leave Morocco. We will take a train from Marrakech back to Casablanca, about 4 hours, then chill at the airport for an 11 PM flight arriving Athens 5:30 AM Friday. We fly the same morning to Heraklion on Crete. That means a sleepless 24-36 hours. Along with a new language, different currency, and new foods. The joys of travel abound.

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