Today was our free day on the trip. The six of us stayed together most of the day. We met at 10:30am for breakfast and then headed to the medina for shopping. Some of the shops were beautiful, displaying many different colorful items. Some of the shop owners were too pushy for my taste. One very nice shop owner spoke with me for a while. He is a Berber and recognized the henna tattoos on my hands as coming not from a tourist city, but a small village. He invited me back for tea. I love that about the people we have met. Everyone seems so open and welcoming.
I called home and actually got a hold of my mom for the first time this trip. I really enjoyed hearing from her but our conversation was cut short because I saw Candyce crying. She had also called home and found out that her grandmother had passed away. It was hard for her because she felt guilty for leaving and not being with her family, sad for the loss of her grandmother, and angry with herself for showing so much emotion in front of the group. We had lunch at Salad’s Bar. Lunch was very subdued due to the phone calls home. We decided to take a few hours in our rooms and meet back at 4pm to ride camels.
We paired up and rode with our buddy to the castle in the sand. The crumbling structure was made famous by the alleged connection to Jimmy Hendrix and the song Castles Made of Sand. Many people believe this location was the inspiration for the song. Our camels had names (which we later found out was only to entertain Americans, as most people really don’t care and Moroccans don’t name their animals). Their names were the Great Bambino (Candyce and I), Max (Ashlee and Haley), and Rasta (Jonathan and Stephen).
Stephen, Jonathan and I made a quick run past the toilet paper store in search of wooden boxes. I wanted some, but the Kings had gotten such a better price that I didn’t get any boxes, just your basic toilet paper store supplies. It was a fun little trip though because we were so rushed to get back for dinner. It was also our first experience with a petit taxi. Whoa.
We had dinner in a beautiful restaurant overlooking the water. The place had live music provided by two young guys with guitars. They played Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Bob Dillon and the Doors just to mention a few. Haley some freaky fish on her plate at dinner and I had another crazy salad.