I have been playing the senior citizen card for so long now that I am almost enjoying being 66 (not really). I use my age to get in front of a long line at the Apple store and now I discovered it really works when you are traveling around the world. Most younger people really want to be helpful. If they don’t, I tell them I am a senior (not that they can’t see that for themselves) and usually get my way.
Such is the case when we went on a camel ride 500-feet up the sand dunes in the Sahara Desert to see the sunset. The camel guides were so caring and attentive, that it made it easy for us to accomplish this challenge. Getting on and off a camel is cumbersome but they told us how to do it and what to expect. Most of the folks on our tour (the majority over 60) really enjoyed this once-in-a lifetime opportunity.
Eliot and Lois on board
At this point, I’m still in disbelief that I’m in the Sahara Desert on a camel
I didn’t take my hands off the reins. The guide must have taken this picture
We made it 500-feet up. All we needed was wine and cheese.
We got what we came for.
We are about to enter the Sahara Desert. The nicer the hotel in Morocco, the worse the Internet. Yesterday’s hotel looked like a hostel, but the Internet was great. Tonight we are at a spectacular hotel and the Internet sucks. I’d better write fast before the Internet blows again.
It’s amazing how everyone is so addicted to the Internet. While you see Moroccans traveling on a donkey or a camel, still they are talking on their cell. You wonder how this all happened. Our tour leader gets calls non-stop from his wife or business associates. It’s going to be very interesting tomorrow to see if folks are on their cells while we ride on camels 600 feet up the sand dunes. I hope I can make it. It may be too steep for me. I am going to try.
Today, I truly felt that I was seeing something out of a movie set. We visited the lush Todra Palmeraie Gorge with its dramatic 985-foot high walls. I have never experienced anything like it. One good shake and everything could come tumbling down.
It’s pretty dusty out here already, but tomorrow we will truly be in the thick of the desert. I yearn for something green.
It’s always interesting to see where busy people go to recharge their batteries. In this case, I’m not talking about the kind of batteries that power your smartphone. I am referring to a quiet place where you can put everything into proper perspective.
Yves Saint-Laurent found tranquility in a 12-acre botanical garden in Marrakech, called the Majorelle Garden. It was created in the 1920s by French artist Jacques Majorelle. Majorelle opened it to the public in 1947, the year I was born. After he died. the garden fell into disrepair.
Coincidentally, Yves Saint-Laurent spent a lot of time in Marrakech and fell in love with the gardens. In 1980, he and his partner, Pierre Bergé bought and restored it. After Saint Laurent died in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the Majorelle and a memorial structure was created in his honor.
How lucky for me that Eliot and I, along with our travel companions, got to visit Majorelle today. It was a picture perfect place for a group of active people to spend some quiet time taking digital pictures, getting some exercise, and reflecting on the past and the present.
Photos by Eliot Hess
A few years ago, I noticed that many of my travel companions on Smartours were starting to use sophisticated digital cameras on our trips. This time, on our SmarTours Moroccan journey, another big revelation took place. Several of the women showed up with professional cameras. They have taken their love of photography to a whole new level.
It is so much fun to watch these women discover the many options they now have to capture a photo just the way they want it. I guess for me these DigiDame-type women represent a very exciting future that is still available if you want it. Instead of winding down, they are winding up. Good for them, lucky for us. Inspiration always makes my heart jump for joy.
Meanwhile, today we visited the Marjana Cooperative where we watched Moroccan women work at extracting Argan Oil. The demand for Argan Oil has significantly increased because of its use in body cosmetics and good food.
Here are interesting photos from that visit. Notice, no technology.
I’m in Morocco. I need to go to sleep right now because we have been up all night. Our flight to Morocco on Royal Air Moroc was delayed six hours so instead of leaving at 7pm Friday night we left 1am Saturday morning. They never gave us an explanation. It was about a six hour flight and I was so busy knitting and then ripping out because of mistakes I made. I really didn’t sleep much.
I didn’t know what to expect in Casablanca, so it all has been quite a surprise. Our Smartours guide (this is our seventh trip) said Morocco is one of the few places on Earth were everyone is welcomed and accepted for who they are. That was so nice to hear.
Here are some photos of the sights.