Location: Essaouira, Morocco

Welcome to Africa! Today was our first-day stepping foot on the new continent, and more specifically, Essaouira, Morocco. As with all of our days, today was action-packed. We started the day split into two groups; one to surf and one to ride camels. Each group would do one of the activities today, and tomorrow we would switch. Today my group rode camels. And it was not what we had expected. At all. Aside from the abrupt unpredicted motions, ticks, the chance of getting slobbered on, and the ever-lasting stretch in the groin, the camel rides were fun. But honestly, the whole experience was amazing, and even the uncomfortable moments made good and funny memories. Our group had a large variety of camels; some were feisty, some were huge, and there was even one named James, an objectively amazing name. We rode camels for about two hours being led single-file down a beach, past a couple of ruins to a cafe named after Jimi Hendricks. His song Purple Haze actually comes from this cafe and the ruins that we passed on the camels. The guy that organized our camel rides was so happy about the business we brought him, that he started giving gifts. We all got free cookies and mint tea at the cafe, and Tait and Tina even got traditional Moroccan dresses; I dont think they are called dresses, but just see the picture above. He even went so far as to lead many to special restaurants or stores to fill our free time. Every street corner in the market leads to a back alley with many handmade, specialty items and salesmen always seeking our business. But some of the most interesting experiences came from a common African way of life: bartering, an idea that is simple in concept but quite stressful in action. Altogether, Africa is amazing.

Pictured: Several photos of our group riding camels; Emmalee, Natalie, Jackie, Amanda, CJ, Ian, Smash, and James enjoying mint tea and cookies in the Jimi Hendrix cafe; Aric, Jonas, and Jake also enjoying tea; and Tina and Tait in their traditional Moroccan attire.

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