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Hockessin Community News
  • Visiting Morocco – Part II

  • If you're a regular reader of the Brandywine Community News, you're likely well-versed about Robert Weiner's work as a New Castle County Councilman. Last month, Weiner took some time off and traveled with his wife, Cindy, to Morocco, where his daughter Rachel is serving in the Peace Corps. Below are excerpts from ...
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  • If you're a regular reader of the Brandywine Community News, you're likely well-versed about Robert Weiner's work as a New Castle County Councilman. Last month, Weiner took some time off and traveled with his wife, Cindy, to Morocco, where his daughter Rachel is serving in the Peace Corps. Below are excerpts from an extensive travel blog kept by Weiner about the trip in the second of a two-part series.
    Thursday, 19 November 2009
    The journey [to Rachel's home village on Tinzouline] started at 5:30 a.m. and ended at around 3 p.m. Rachel told us that we had been fortunate in making all our planned connections and that we had traveled the distance in good time. When we arrived at Rachel’s front door, our last obstacle was to carry the luggage up the narrow staircase and plop the luggage and ourselves onto the beautifully carpeted “living room” floor. We got a quick house tour and then unpacked the American goodies through out the apartment. Rachel prepared a delicious dinner: veggies with spices and rice, utilizing whatever was in her pantry.

    Meet Rachel Weiner

    Councilman Robert Weiner recorded his travelogue while visiting his daughter in Morocco. Meet the Peace Corps volunteer Rachel Weiner as she talks about her life in northern Africa.

    Friday, 20 November 2009
    We were awakened our first morning in Tinzouline by donkeys, roosters and the call to prayer...We took a taxi to Zagora, where we transferred to a second cab to Tamegroute, a desert town with a rich history and obvious infrastructure investment for tourism. Our taxi ride took us past groves of palm, called "Palmeraie"...We visited the famous ancient library, with a collection of scholarly books dating back to the year 1063. The prophet Mohammed died in 749 and the rare book collection has great historic significance. The library was established in the 1700’s. Some of the books are written on gazelle hides. The collection includes early editions of the Koran, dictionaries, astrological works, along with tomes on biology, botanical medicine, poetry and literature.
    Saturday, 21 November 2009
    We walked via the neighborhood paths to Rachel’s Tinzouline host family. Kbira, Rachel’s host mom, greeted us at the door. She was most gracious. We were invited to a sitting room, which had many homey amenities. Precocious Asya, age 4, was full of personality and energy. Mish Mish, their cat, was also a center of attention. Asya made animal sounds and imitated different animals, to entertain us. I responded with animal noises and faces to entertain Asya, which made her laugh. Kbira served us tea, followed by chicken cous cous and then fruit. Asya assisted each of us in washing our hands with a portable hand washing station. Bujma, Rachel’s host father, stopped in to say hello and then retreated to his lavish parlor, reportedly to watch television and smoke...Rachel then ushered us into the Ouarzazate town plaza – large, modern, clean and filled with people – socializing, strolling, playing soccer, drinking coffee, chatting and smoking. It was a wonderful scene to behold. The whole scene spoke to us saying “chill out.” Many travel agencies advertised trips to the sand dunes adjacent to M’Hamid. We checked into “Bab Sahara Hotel,” located right on the square. For 180 Moroccan Dirham or $30, we were able to book what appeared to be the hotel’s nicest room.
    Page 2 of 2 - Sunday, 22 November 2009
    Our first stop was Atlas Studios/Hotel Oscar in Ouarzazate. For our studio tour, we joined a group of international students who were traveling together from Bulgaria, Mexico, Czech Republic and the Netherlands; but their common language was English. Our tour guide walked us through indoor and outdoor large movie sets where many classic movies were filmed – "Babel," "The Mummy II," and the remake of the "Ten Commandments" – and noted some of the many famous actors who had performed and stayed here – Michael Douglas, Angelina Jolie, Russell Crowe and more. Our next destination was the famous nearby Ait Ben Haddou Kasbah...originally constructed in 1345 and first inhabited by Berbers and Jews. The locals told us that the Moroccan Jewish community immigrated to Israel in the 1960s. The Kasbah was added onto over the years. As many as 150 families once lived in this ancient mud "condo"...The taxi driver returned us to our hotel and on the way home said we would be welcome to come to his home to meet his family on our next trip- “In-Sha’Allah”- so typical of the warm and friendly Moroccans everywhere during our visit.
    [After saying their goodbyes to Rachel, the Weiner's were headed for the Ouarzazate Airport, where their long journey home began.]
    Edited by Jesse Chadderdon
     

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