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AUTHENTIC MOROCCO

Memories of A Mother and Daughter Journey Morocco: By Jennifer Bain

Traditional Moorish architecture is found all over Morocco

STARTING OFF ON OUR CAMEL TREK ©JENNIFER BAIN

From sand dunes to tajine cooking, writer Jennifer Bain and her 20-year-old daughter journey through Morocco. We stumble from our tented desert camp at 5:45 in the morning and climb by moonlight and starry sky to the top of the nearest sand dune. The camp is quiet. So are our trusty camels. It’s too dark to admire the glorious red sand in the Erg Chebbi dune field, but the velvety mounds are unexpectedly cold and sting our bare feet, so we climb quickly. GoPro in hand, my daughter picks a solitary perch away from the quiet chatter of a few other early risers. Notebook in hand, I sink and slide along the ridge in the opposite direction. This is my first Sahara sunrise and I want to absorb it in silence. Well, relative silence – an insistent rooster won’t let up and all kinds of birds are chirping joyfully.

Sunrise is supposed to be at 6:36 a.m. and, as the darkness fades, I start to make out animal and insect footprints. The dunes are high so it’s not until 6:53 that the golden rays finally splay out across the sand and the camels start grumbling expectantly. Arabian camels, technically dromedaries, have one hump and are raised for meat, milk or trekking. Ours seem to know we will leave at 7:15 before it gets too hot for the one-hour journey to breakfast, showers and Wi-Fi. Sharing this sunrise, riding these mysterious animals, sleeping on cots under piles of wool blankets in Berber-style camps – these tiny, perfect moments will stay with us. So will the dinner feast (tajine, a slow-cooked stew served in a clay dish with a tall, conical lid) and the deliciously awkward moment after dessert when our hosts sing “We Will Rock You” and command us to sing, dance, drum and play qarkabeb (Moroccan castanets). We are probably the most artistically challenged group of Canadian, American and South Africans that this desert camp has ever seen.

EXPERIENCE MOROCCO

Discover the spectacular landscapes and exotic cities of Morocco with Insight Vacations. Stay in luxury hotels, taste authentic flavours and meet passionate locals. INSIGHT EXPERIENCES FES: Witness local artisans using long-standing techniques to create pottery and khobz, the traditional local bread. MARRAKESH: Your Local Expert leads you from bustling Jemaa el-Fnaa Square, through the Medina to Koutoubia Mosque, with its notable minaret. DADES VALLEY: Stop at a traditional Nomad house and meet the locals as you try Berber tea.

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Vacations® • Summer 2018 • 39

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