Last summer i went to the Kingdom of Morocco for a GEO 495 summer abroad class. In Morocco I studied the culture, politics, economics, and geographical aspects of the nation. Morocco is a dynamic nation of rich elites, and poor destitutes. In some of the major cities along the Atlantic such as Rabat, and Casablanca, there is enormous wealth. But, in other parties of the nation such as the south-east, near the Sahara desert, there is overwelming poverty. In some parts of the country houses are falling into the mountainsides. One of the most important things to remember in Morocco is that there are two races of people the Berbers and the Arabs. Both races have impacted the nation, but the Arabs are in control of the politics and economics and with that they influence the culture. Almost everything is in Arabic, but there is a heavy-handed French element to the nation as well. For fifty years Morocco was a Protectorate of France and wherever you go the menu is going to be in Arabic and French.

As I traveled the country I noticed the overwelming elements of poverty. Almost everwhere you go, you will see beggers and poor people. In the United States there are homeless, but our homeless are better off than these people. They have no access to food or toliets and often eat garbage and excret in the streets.

As I traveled the nation I went to many medinas (old cities) the most notable was Fes. Fes is a remarkable city. The entire city is walled off, with ancient walls dating from the first millenia. In that city you can find anything you want, for a price. There are ancient jewish goldsmiths, and modern niki shoe stores. Morocco is a land of dynamics. Poverty and Rich, Ancient and Modern, Western and Eastern culture.

The main religion in Morocco is Islam. In every city there are many minnerat towers and five times a day no matter where you are in the city you can hear the call to prayer. Living in the United States I have never been acquainted with Islam, Morocco was my first exerpeince with Islam and Arabic culture. I found the U.S. sterotypes to be unfair, these people are humble, friendly, and modest.

The worst experience I had in Morocco was with the food. The culture promotes green mint tea (morrocan fire whiskey/no alcohol) and chicken tajine. While I liked the tea, the chicken tajine was horrendous. Everywhere you go, it's the same thing chicken tajine. When I was staying with a family in Fes, bless their hearts (they are very nice and good people) they served chicken tajine. I got very sick off this food and was sick for the remainder of the trip (bowel sickness!) gross, I know.

Overall I really liked the people of Morocco and thought it was a great country. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to experience Middle Eastern culture without going to the warzones in the Middle East. These people are very progressive and are not religious radicals, as you might find in places like Palestine or Syria. The Kingdom of Morocco was a great experience, apart from the bowel sickness, and I had a great time there. If you go to Morocco, enjoy!