When we landed in Casa Blanca, we discovered after waiting several hours at the airport that our luggage was missing. We had to engage the interesting Moroccan bureaucracy to try to recover our treasures. Unbeknownst to us at that time, it would be several days before I would have access to a clean pair of underwear and a clean shave. As a matter of fact, I just received my luggage a few hours ago. With this experience, I learned that it is possible to survive without anything for a prolonged period of time. We were told up front to be prepared for anything. UCLA was not kidding.
Aside from this learning experience, I feel like I am in Mexico. So many of the people here look like my relatives. Having gone to Spain and now living in Morocco, I feel I have a better grasp of who I am as a Mexican. The professors here have given me an insight into the Moorish culture that has shaped me as a Mexican. I can't believe how much I did not know. Sometimes one can be so arrogant to think that one already knows enough. I am relishing the future lectures to learn even more.
On the Road to Ifrane, we past many nopaleras like the ones in my father in law's house and the ones that decorate the landscape throughout Mexico. There were corn fields, vineyards, goats, men driving donkey carriages, many types of vegetables growing in the iron rich fields, houses that resemble those in Mexico with iron rods sticking out from the roof waiting for the family to save more money to complete a necessary room. The only difference was the omnipresent Arabic.
When we arrived to Ifrane at the University of Al Akhawayn, it did not resemble the Morocco I was witnessing for four hours after departing Casa Blanca. Ifrane is a community designed by the King as a resort town. The University in nestled in a nice mountain side surrounded by oak tress like the ones that border my home in Aromas, California. This particular university is so different from the one I was expecting. I will just say that it is quite liberal. I already scouted all the corners around this place during my morning jogs.
As for my progress in Arabic, I did not expect to have learned so much about Arabic in just two days. I am familiarizing myself with the alphabet and simple survival phrases. At this rate, I may be fluent at the end of the journey.
Well, I have given you enough to digest. If you have questions, I will try to respond to your questions immediately.