It all started when I decided to hop on a bus from Malaga to Paris. A 36 hour bus ride to be exact. In that time I met Frenchmen who has their crusty feet in the seat with no socks or shoes. I met an Cameroonian man who took it upon himself to sit with my so no other man would. He also talked the entire professing his love and desire to go to New York. I ate one too many bocadillas and became sick. I arrived at the train station and there were no taxis. I got stuck in the doors of the metro train and I couldn’t read menus with my minuscule French skills but I ordered good things.
Today I said my somber goodbyes to my host mom. It’s been an interesting 4 weeks with her. She is the mother of 4 children, all adults now, and she hosts students throughout the year. She is an amazing cook and lunches were always filling. Dinner ranged from croquettes to egg and potato omelets and was small as Spanish dinners usually are.
We had a few miscommunications along the way. She’d often tell us to go to bed around 11 or 12pm which was next to impossible with the long ciestas we took after lunch. This is probably in part because utilities are very expensive in Spain. A couple of times we hid food that we didn’t like (croquettes!). It was hard to tell her we didn’t like something since its considered disrespectful and of course there’s the fact that she already cooked it.
All in all I’d recommend staying with a host family if you plan on traveling for a while. They were the key to me being able to practice Spanish. I can’t wait to return to sunny Malaga sometime in the next 2 years. Paella, a delicious Spanish dish) is already calling my name.
So I decided to wear my Afro out today and boy were the Spanish people amazed. I’m walking to Casa Aronda, the best chocolate churro place in the world, and I start to notice the stares. Not those kind of stares where they glance over at you but full on stop the car, spin around twice, honking, retrace their steps stares.One old man stared for about 20 minutes and asked where was my face. I peaked out and said “here I am” all in Spanish of course. All I can say is I hope they’re getting used to it because us Black girls are global!
This weekend 5 other girls and I decided to travel to Morocco. It was fun, crazy, scary and a whirlwind all wrapped up into 2 days. Morocco requires a sense of humor, a smile, strong bargaining skills and a sense of awareness at all times. I’ll give you all a recap of our weekend and some advice if you plan in traveling there (based on my own personal experience in Tangier)
We are currently studying in Malaga, Spain and decided to go for 2 days as we heard the day trip was rushed an pointless. We chose Sol Chasers as our travel agency. We arrived to Tarifa and took the ferry to Tanger. Upon exiting the ferry a short man dressed in traditional clothes who took one look, asked were we the group of 5 and told him to come with him. He then asked what hotel we were at and that’s when I figured out that he was NOT our guide. Then we met Mohammed who had a sign with my name on it and he asked for the voucher. Guess who knew nothing about a voucher? Me. So with that he begins to speak as if we don’t speak English, walks away and tells the other guide, Fatima, to deal with us. Luckily that all gets straightened out.
Then begins the “tour” of Tangier which basically consist of her taking us to her friends or family where she makes a commission if we buy things. I did get to ride a unhealthy looking camel, a full display of spices and rugs and a Moroccan lunch that was absolutely delicious.
Thus began the game of bargaining as we head to the Medina. I had read that you take their price and divide it by 4. It took a lot of haggling, walking away, coming back, smiles, frowns and laughter to get the vases and blankets I wanted. It’s difficult to shop when in between the real shops, large groups of street vendor men approach you/overwhelm you with their trinkets. Talk about exhausting! While haggling for blankets I was told I would make a great wife for this Berber man’s son. He said he his son would keep me “very happy” 😵😱
That night we head to the beach where there are lots of clubs. We somehow end up in a club that’s playing 90’s rnb and hip hop such as Tupac, SWV, Will Smith and Notorious. That was strange to say the least.
In the morning we made a decision to head to the Medina without a guide. Once the taxi dropped us off a man approached us and began to give us a tour. I told him no multiple times as I knew he would be expecting money afterward and that’s when things get crazy. He called us black slaves, whores, sluts and hookers in public 😳. We hurried away but he followed us and told us he’ll be waiting for us mfers. Needless to say we power walked into some market and never saw him again. Scary!
Overall I had a great time minus the aggressive cat calling men. I recommend traveling with a man and maybe wearing something over your head to avoid looking like a tourist (this of course won’t help if you’re super pasty, brown or in a large group with visors and cameras lol) and to prevent the heat from burning your head. I plan to travel back to Morocco but maybe to Fez or Rabat and with my boyfriend or future husband 🙂