We already hit Marrakesh and Agadir, and next it was on to a smaller city - Cara's village, Anezi.

(And so continues my vacation blog posts. Sorry it is taking so long... Goal is to be done with all of them before Mardi Gras!)

After a couple of (smushed) taxi rides, we made it to Cara's village. Of everything in Morocco, this is what I was most excited for. Cara's been living in Morocco for almost two years. I've heard about her life there, read about it and seen pictures - but this was my chance to see it first hand. I was psyched. This is what I travelled halfway across the world for!

And Anezi didn't disappoint.
As soon as we got there, we had a 'dress like Cara day.' I knew we were going up in to the mountain villages (little neighborhoods they call 'do-hoirs') which are way more traditional. Up until then, we had been in Moroccan cities surrounded by more modern, Arabic culture. Anezi is a Berber village in the mountains and is much more traditional. Cara always talked about how she wore long skirts to make the people in her town more comfortable. She wanted to fit in; show that she understood their culture and traditions. I wanted to do the same. I put on one of Cara's long skirts, t-shirts and cardigans.... and looked just like her! (Really, when showing these pictures to Joe when I got back, he said if he squinted he thought I was Cara!)
We went up into the mountains to see the water towers that Cara and her site mate helped fund and build. They bring running water to the villages so that the women don't have to walk down the hill to the well. They've spent months writing grants and proposals and organizing the whole operation. It's amazing what they accomplished!

And the view - breathtaking. I've been in the mountains before, but never like this. Like most of Morocco, pictures won't do it justice. And the women would just follow us around and speak in Talsheet (their language) to Cara. They said we were beautiful and loved our pale skin. Ha! They walked us around the stone buildings that make up their neighborhood - What a departure from the marina of Agadir where we watched the sunset the night before! Instead of yachts, new condos and Zara, we were surrounded by mountains and crumbling stone buildings.
Then we went to Cara's counterpart, Lahcen's house and had dinner with his family. Let me tell you something - you haven't truly lived until you've had a traditional Moroccan meal (or gone off-roading in the mountains in a 1970s Mercedes station wagon. Interesting experience to say the least.) We had coffee, Lahcen came around and washed our hands, then we ate more bread then you would think is humanly possible. I stopped to breathe and Lahcen's wife told me to keep going in Talsheet! Are you kidding?!  I have to breathe!

Then for dinner, we had tajines - A Moroccan slow-cooked meal with vegetables, prunes, lamb and egg. You don't use silverware; just use the bread to soak up all the juices first and then eat the rest with your right hand (right hand only. Your left hand is for... something else that may ruin your appetite). No plates, no napkins. Everyone eats out of the same bowl. And it was delicious! Except, I couldn't eat the lamb. They love the fatty part there... and I just couldn't bring myself to eat much of it.

Then we moved on to a giant fruit bowl to chose from for dessert and watched Awkward- yes, the MTV show-  on Lahcen's giant flat-screen television. Seriously. It was nicer than most people's TVs here in America. Lahcen sent us off with a bunch of 'sexy' blankets (they are just really soft) to off-road back down the mountain.... in the 1970s Mercedes station wagon... in the dark.
The next day, we hung out at Cara's all day. We did laundry, caught up on emails and took a long nap. And Cara cooked - pancakes, chickpea burgers - this girl is good! It was a nice relaxing day before we hopped on the bus for our last stop in Morocco - Essaouira.

Oh, and I must mention the bathroom situation here. Pretty much all of Morocco had modern toilets (albeit, no toilet paper). Cara has a hole in the floor. Seriously. You squat over it. Do your business. And then fill up a water bucket and flush it down. Cara and Claire are totally okay with this method. I, on the other hand could not get used to it. I had to take my pants all the way off because everytime I would have pee splatter all over my legs. (Seriously, you'd think years of tailgating and late night walks home in Columbia would have taught me better.)

Click here for links to all my Rome and Morocco travels!

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