Welcome to Rabat

We’re here! We’re here and safe and happy and somewhat clean and very tired! I’m sitting on my bed at Hotel Dakar which is in the old part of Rabat, very near the Medina. Our window is open and through it I can hear crazy and endless noises: the sound of night time during Ramadan! There are so many people around because during the day it’s so hot and they can’t eat or drink for Ramadan, so as soon as the sun goes down the streets come alive. We’re staying here, at hotel Dakar, just for one night, and then we’ll meet our host family tomorrow after orientation.

The flight into Rabat was really great, and customs was exciting because now we have MOROCCO stamps on our passports! Our bags were right there waiting for us, so no problems there, and when we got out to the public part of the airport I spotted a man with a Thaqafat sign right away, which is the name of the local organization we’re working with.

He helped us with out bags and drove us through Rabat to the hotel, allowing us to take in our first impressions of the city, while Hotel California played softly in the background. At first we drove through the modern part of the city which feels quite European, but I did take note of a few things that I jotted down in my notebook. There was a woman begging on the side of the street in the most stunning outfit I’ve ever seen, and she had a baby wrapped up in all these colorful fabrics. A bunch of men sat on plastic law furniture outside a gas station playing some sort of card game and smoking. There were quite a few police officers wandering around the streets.

We turned up this winding road surrounded by white rock, and right away I
knew that jotting down a few observations would no longer suffice for this part of the city: the old town. All of the sudden the streets came alive. People wandered around with no sense of order from one old building to the next, or staying outside to join the bustling street environment. Mom caught a glimpse of the inside of a little mosque out her window, but I was
too mesmerized by the sights on my side to notice. All of the sudden a voice rang out through the whole city, and people all around started heading towards the nearest Mosque for Call to Prayer. I knew right away what to expect since I’ve heard the Call to Prayer in Turkey and Oman, but it took Mom a minute to realize what was going on.

A few more twists and turns, and our car pulled up in front of Hotel Dakar.20130715-114539.jpg
We got settled in our little room 14 on the 3rd floor. We have this great view onto a busy street, and we can hear drumming and singing from down the street, though we can’t see it.

This is so cool.

Can’t wait to get started tomorrow!

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