MOROCCO 2005

THE TWO WEDDINGS of ADAM

 

Adam-

I have now booked my Venezuela trip fror first half of July, which means it will not interfere with Morocco in August. Could you send me the actual dates of your wedding festivities, .....and I will start looking for a frequent flyer ticket (into Casablanca?).  I hope this works out, I've never been to Morocco, although it will be HOT I assume.

Best Regards,

Mark

 

Tue, 3 May 2005

Mark,

Thank you for the email... The actual dates for the wedding are: 1st night will be in Casablanca on August 6th. 2nd night will be up in the mountains on August 13th. This will be in a place called "Douar Admam"... (Douar = village, and Admam is the actual name for the small village -my birth place!!!)

If you need to look it up on maps, you will have to have a REAL detailed map to locate the actual village!... However, the closest decent-size town is the one I had lived in by the name of  TAZA. The village is about 35 miles south of TAZA. TAZA is located a the foot of the mountains (The most northern part of the Middle Atlas chaine).... ANother close village is called "BAB BOUIDIR".. This village may be more visible on maps than Admam.. and the reason is the BAB BOUIDIR was a favorite camp site/summer camp for kids during the French existance in the area back when...!

In any case, I am still working on invitations and I will getting in touch with you, Bob, Glenn, Karim, Fernando, and some other folks... As to your ticket, better to look into arriving and departing from Casablanca because of the high frequency of flights. Otherwise... you can always look into departing out of other cities such as Marrakech, Agadir, or Fes... Arriving is better into Casablanca.

Adam

 

Mon, 13 Jun 2005

OK, Mark,

Tyler & I have our Morocco tickets bought. Wendi probably won't go due to her store. We fly Royal Air Morroc from JFK on 8/4 7:40 PM, arrive Casablanca 6:40 A.M., on 8/5 Return 8/19 from Casablanca at 11:20 AM, arrive JFK 8/19 at 3:30 P.M.   When you have a chance, call me to talk about the plans the week between weddings, and the week after the wedding. For the week after the wedding, I'd like to rent a car or van w/ driver; go thru the Atlas and Berber country to Marzouga, spend a night on the dunes, drive to Qurrezate, the Casbah country to Marrekesh.

Fernando

 

Fri, 24 Jun 2005

Mark,

The wedding hotel in Casablanca is called Park Regency Hotel. It was built as a private house by a guy from Saudia Arabia for his "wife". Now it has been turned into a small 23 room hotel, but it still has the feel and the look of a private home/little "palace"!

By the way, I told Fernando that it would be a lot easier if you guys decide to get a room there at least for the first 2 nights, including the wedding night. I will have to know so I can talk to the lady who is in charge so I can work a deal with her for my guests. However I will need the head count. As to the car rental, and if you do decide to stay at the wedding hotel, it is located about 10 minutes outside of Casablanca (Due Southwest on the coastal route towards the city of "El Jadida" ... So, I do recommand a car when you guys get there so you can be free to move in and out of the city as you wish before, during and after the wedding. Mark, I will be sending you an invite to your home adddress. I am sorry I have not done so already!

Please let me know

Adam

 

Sun, 26 Jun 2005

Sorry I didn't get to you sooner.

I talked to Adam yesterday about the Hotel in Casablanca for the weeding. It sounds pricey, though Adam thinks he can get us a deal for about $100.oo a night. T and I want to stay w/ you, either at Adam's hotel or somewhere in Casablanca. It's a 5 star hotel, about 45 minutes from Casablanca. T & I don't need the 5 star luxury, & if we looked , we could find a nice renovated Hivali in Casablanca & drive to the wedding, & still save $$$, but there is a convineance factor in going straight to the Hotel & being therer for the wedding, before enbarking on the journey.

I haven't checked on the van. I figured that could be worked out as easy in Casablanca, & Adam's got his hands full planning his wedding. I do have a couple of thoughts about transportation. From the wedding We have 5-6 days in the north before wedding 2. A couple of days either on the coast then Fez for a couple of days, then Wedding two. Do you think we need a private car the first week, to get from Casablanca to Fez to Wedding? That should be easy to do on public transport.  My thought is to get the van/private car for the 2nd week, after the wedding, from Fez or Taza to Marzouga, the Atlas, Ourrizat, Marrekesh, and back to Casablanca. Let me know what you think. And we'll plan at staying at the same place in Casablanca or the Wedding Hotel.

 Fernando

 

Sun, 17 Jul 2005

Hello Mark,

Thanks for the reply. I saw you are looking into Ibis hotel rooms, and that is a good reliable chain. However, you will have to hire a Taxi from the city to where the hotel is (which is about 10 min's outside Casablanca, going South along the coastline). The other thing is, the Red Taxi (called Petit Taxi = Small Taxi) will not take you all the way, as they are only authorized to work inside the city limit so to speak. The Red cab will take you to a station where the "Big Taxi's" are and which take you the southbound direction to the exact location. You should be able to afford a cab for you 3 (You, Fernando, and taylor) without having to share it with other passengers. The hotel concierge/front desk may even be able to arrange a cab for you guys to come straight to the hotel and pick you up without having to juggle between cabs!

I am hoping we will connect before the wedding night, and if I can arrange for me, or someone else to pick you up from the hotel I will do that. Otherwise it is easy to just hire a cab from and back to your hotel. Send me the hotel numbers and the name of reservations so I can get hold of you ahead of time.

Adam

 

Fri, 22 Jul 2005

Sorry I haven't replied sooner about the hotel & suits and stuff, but indecision is the key to flexibility.

I don't necessarily want to stay in a European hotle chain in Casablanca if we can find a nice restored, & inexpensive havali in the old part of the city, even if it means a little inconvieance getting from the airport or to the wedding. What do you think about splurging on the wedding night & staying at the Palace where the wedding is taking place? Between the two of us & with whatever deal Adam can work out, it might not be that much more.

Anyway, all these are ideas. I haven't worried too much about a hotel because I'm pretty sure we can get what we want at the last minute, or next Saturday night when Wendi & I  go to Austin. I'd like to see what the Lonely Planet says about Havalis in Casablanca.

ONE BIG CHANGE: Wendi will be coming for the second part of the trip, arriving the Friday before the second wedding in Melili, & traveling w/ us to Marrakesh. She will be leaving 3 days after Tyler & I leave, so you two could travel together. Since she arrives in Mellili, it plays into your plan of spending a few days exploring the Rif and a beach day or two on the Moroccon Mediteranian coast.

Fernando

 

Mon, 25 Jul 2005

You're right about the hotel in Casablanca. Tonight I'll email them to get a reservation for my arrival date (8/5 at 6:40 A.M.) & go straight to the Hotel. Your right, we can take the train into town & it'll be one less headache. Staying Sunday in Casablanca sounds good too.

I really want to go to Fez. T will like the Medina, & it will be a good place to buy for the store. The Ref is between Fez & Mellila. I say we can have it all. Leave Fes on the 9th & arrive in Melilla on the 11th, pick up Wendi on the 12th (friday) A.M., and stay in Mellila Fiday night. The drive to Taza is 4 hours and the wedding won't start until the afternoon. If we left Mellia Saturday morning, we could be in Taza w/ plenty of time to clean up before the wedding. Camille confirmed this was a good idea. 

Adam's been telling me about the car rental. I still don't think we need private transportation until we leave Taza after the second wedding. Do we need a van before Wendi joins us? A van w/ driver for the Atlas to Marrekesh sounds good. 

Merzougga is remote & I hadn't thought about the heat problem ( I went in April & it was hot). Lets talk about it this weekend. If we don't go to Merzouga, it will free up another day in Marrekesh, which is good for me & T. We are rescheduled to return from Casa on Friday,  8/19, so if we go to Marzouga, we'll only get max 2 nights in Marrekesh.

Fernando

 

Mon Jul 25  2005

Wendi and Fernando-

OK, we are indeed making progress. The IBIS Casablanca booking is via on line reservation with credit card, not e-mail. They will send you an e-mail confirmation, Then just forward a copy of that email to me, and I will know we are all set, you already have a copy of my confirmation.

I try to avoid arriving at the last minute for events. And usually any city worth visiting deserves two nights, I think. I would therefore vote for going straight from Melilla airport to Taza on Friday, so we are not crossing a border, travelling four hours, and trying to enjoy the wedding scene all in one day. But I could be outvoted. Democracy has its limits.

I agree Fez is a must see, and for me worth two nights, i.e. Mon and Tue. Great ruins at Volubilis outside Fez are on my list, too. Melilla as well deserves two nights, but I think Wed and Thurs. I can live without the side trip to Rif area, or go there at the end of my trip. What time do you arrive Melilla, Wendi? Now, the car is tricky, because I assume ithas to be rented and returned in Casablanca to have the reasonable price Adam mentioned. That car would likely not be permitted into Melilla??

Are you proposing a one-way car rental from Taza to Marrakesh, or what? How to do that? It is easy to get to Fez and Taza by train, but without a car, Taza to Nador by bus only has a "morning departure" according to LP. The are mentions of "grandes taxis" in the guide book, maybe just chartering a taxi is more economical and convenient, I don't know. We could always just take an (overnight?) train Taza to Marrakesh (Marrakesh Express?) and then go into the High Atlas from that direction, maybe with a car rental out of Marrakesh.

Read about the Todra Gorge near Tinerhir, south of Imilchil. Cool clear river in photogenic spot sounds preferable to sand dunes in August. Book says be there in early morning for best light and jaguar. After Marrakesh I will probably head for Essaouira then Agadir, possibly back to Imilchil wedding festival, but there is some confusion as to dates, some places are saying Aug 26-28, others say Sept 26-28! This should give you some things to think about and research ! We can talk on phone as much as you have time, send me a copy of your "calendar" if you have it worked up, then see you Saturday.

Mark

 

Tue, 26 Jul 2005

Alright guys? here is my 2 cents on your planning!

I would like to suggest that on Monday 8th, you shoot straight to Fes. Jamal (Fernando knows this guy-he went on the road trip with Fernando, Wendi, and Taylor to New Mexico) is in Morocco. He is from Fes, and he can show you around, not to mention he speaks English? little! 1Day in Fes could be enough? until you drive back from the wedding and you can spend the 2 days in Fes, as you guys are discussing. Going through Fes on the way back from the wedding is a must!

Then you can fin your way towards Melilla from Fes. Since you will be in the Rif mountains area to pick Wendi up in, you might as well enjoy the region! You may ask where when and how.. here it is.

There is a good chance that you could meet a guy at the Casablanca wedding, who lives and he is in charge of all the Rif Mountains forests (his job title is a Forestier or a Forest Engineer!) If this guy shows up in Casablanca, he will be the guy to talk to on what to see, and how to travel that region. He may even take you on a tour or send someone with you to show you around. Believe me, if you hook up with this guy, it would be an enjoyable trip to that part of Morocco.

If he does not show up there, I know at least one of his brothers will be in Casablanca, and then we can talk about it there and figure out what you need to do. I know the town of Chifchaoun or  is most definitely worth seeing and having lunch or even spending the night there. The town of Ketima, the famous hashish capital is in the area, and worth seeing may be (We will talk more about it in Casablanca).

Then you can find your way to Melilla. However, since it will be a rental car, chances you may not be allowed to take it into Melilla!!! DO NOT quote me on that? A simple cab fare will take you across the boarder, spend the night there if you wish? Wendi may arrive late during the day into Melilla for you guys to drive at night through the Rif Mountains into Taza. I would not recommend it for the simple reason that those roads are run by hashish dealers and smugglers at night, and driving conditions are NOT perfect at night, not to mention not too safe!

You are right Mark for saying you do not want to cross a border and drive 4 hours to the Atlas mountains and then enjoy the wedding. You guys would be exhausted! I am suggesting to find your way to Taza by noon on Saturday the 13th -the latest, and hook up with Kamil and his family, then drive about an hour to Douar Admam together. Something you can discuss with Kamil in Casablanca.

As to after the wedding of the 13th you will have to look at how much time you guys have and plan accordingly. Fernando... Not to worry about Fes, do the shopping when Wendi is there with you and you have time to shop. Jamal could be very valuable since he is there in Morocco at the moment.

As to Marrakech and the south, I believe the brides festival in Imilchil is at the end of August. Again, something to find out when you get there, or may be a call to the embassy of Morocco in D.C may give you exact dates. I would not suggest the sand dunes in hot August? There is plenty of cute and interesting Berber towns south of Marrakech, towards Ouarzazate, Tenghir, etc?

Have a Moroccan map, or buy one there, and you guys can discuss that part of Morocco with Kamil. He has been there and will have plenty to say about it. Hasnaa's dad's family is from that region. He will have his family at the Casablanca wedding, and we will talk to one of Hasnaa's cousin's and could be a hook up for you guys down south!

Meanwhile, you guys are well seasoned travelers, and you know that often times trips don’t always go as planned. So little planning is good, but more flexibility is a must so you can have a great trip!

Trains, Buses, etc are good and reliable (often times). Getting to Melilla and to Taza/Douar Admam, and back to Casablanca? I suggest you guys rent a car! You can do part of the trip by public transportation if you guys wish.

I will be on my way to NYC today, and on to Paris, Casablanca. Meanwhile, travel safe and will see you there, inshallah.

Adam

 

Tue, 26 Jul 2005

I like Adam's ideas & they fit in w/ what I mentioned in  my last email to you. from Casablanca to Fes, then thru the Ref to Mellilli, a couple of days in Mellili, pick u Wendi on Friday morning & go straight to Taza. After the wedding thru the Atlas BUT SKIP Marzouga for more time thru the Atlas to Marekesh.

I didn't know Jamal was in Fes. I do remember him. Wendi & I gave him a ride to and from Santa Fe several years ago. It'll be good to see him & he could be a big help. It's all falling place. Adam's right, planning is good, but indecision is the key to flexibility

Fernando

 

WED AUG 03

Supershuttle 4 AM

AUS-MEM           NW # 3432          06:09 - 08:01

MEM-YYZ          NW # 2836          08:30 – 11:57

              YYZ-FCOM         AZ #651 16:15 – 06:50 +1

THU AUG 04

FCO-CAS            AZ #874               09:20 – 10:30

Hotel: Ibis Moussafir Casablanca,

Boulevard Bahmad, Place de la Gare Casa - Voyageur 20000

CASABLANCA MOROCCO tel :(+212)22/401984

Price per night 420.00 MAD

 

FRI AUG 05

 

SAT AUG 06

Wedding

 

Sat, 6 Aug 2005

THE EXPLANATION OF WHAT HAPPENED:

The AA flight to NY was 6 hours late, resulting in us missing the flight out. Because we were no-shows on the flight out, Royal AIr Morroc canceled T& my return. Our return dates are now no longer available & they are sold out for the 4-5 days before and after my scheduled return. The best they can do is put me on a stand by list for the 18th. With no sure return date, T& I headed home. We did not find out RAM had cancelled our return until yesterday afternoon when were at the airport at the RAM office trying to get tickets out to Casablanca, that they had cancelled our return (though I notified RAM about the missed flight that night when we arrived late in NY, and of our intentions to get on a flight the next day (something the RAM operator told me would be no problem since their were seats available on the outbound flight on Friday night).

Don't get discouraged. It'll be a great trip, but you need to work on your typing (yeah, yeah its the keyboards)  In the meantime, I will know from Wendi tonight if I go in her place.

 Fernando

 

Saturday, August 06, 2005

To: fernando

OK, we will see what happens. I am feeling a bit like this was all a mistake myself, maybe just post flight apathy. But had a fun evening with Camille, Adam and many others last night. I will try to explain your situation, although cant say I understand it, or what will really happen now. We have accomodation in Taza set up, so go there Friday if you make it.

good luck !!

Mark

 

Fernando  wrote:

Mark, Tyler & I are STILL IN NEW YORK.

Our flight from dallas arrived 6 hours late last night & we missed the flight to Casablanca. Because we were no shows, Royal Air Morroc cancelled our return to Dallas. They are now telling us that the return flights on August 19-25 are sold out. The  best they can do is put us on a waiting list for the 18th, but even that is long. We have spent all  day w/ them trying to get something worked out, to no avail. We are now scheduled to return to Dallas tomorrow (saturaday) morning. I am not sure what I'll do now. Wendi has her ticket & she  may still go. When I get back to dallas, I'm going to try to use miles & match Wendi's itenarary.

The last 24 hours in New York have been hell. Everything that could go wrong, did.

When I get back to Dallas, I will email you w/ an update. MY goal now is to make Adam's second  wedding, & possibly try to stay on till Imilchil, but I just don't know. Right now I feel like you felt after we went to Mexico to the Springs, I am NEVER leaving my home again. Sorry, but this was not our fault. I'll get back to you.

Fernando

 

Sat, 6 Aug 2005

Mark,

T & I are back in Dallas. Wendi told me this morning that since Adam's my friend, that she may change the ticket to my name, in which case I will still be going, following Wendi's itenarary. I will know by tonight & let you know. If not, she will still be going. The last 24 hours were hell. Details at 10:00

Fernando

 

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Subject: Fwd: Re: imilchil Aug 26-28 ?

OK FD;

very sad about the aborted departure from NY.  the email below is first confirm Ive had the august dates are correct maybe I will go to Rif Mtns now, i.e. Chefchaouen, save Fez for after second wedding. Adam says we should stay in Taza Friday night as he already set up accomodation for us. I will try to get details to email you so we can somehow link up I also got my old cell phone from Oman working just fine with a little chip that only costs 6 dollars, but I forgot to write the number down, will send it tomorrow so you can contact me that way later.

Mark

 

Wed, 03 Aug 2005

Subject: Re: imilchil Aug 26-28 ? Dear Mr. Mark: Thank you for your e-mail. For the Imilchil festival it will start this year 25 to the 28 in order to get there, you will need to have a car and the driver for 120 dolars a day to take you there that include the car,insurance, driver and gas. For the hotels everything will be in the tentes or very small inn and it will cost 10 to 25 dollars a night. Please let us know if you need to book this services from us.

Moha 

 

-------------------------------------------------------

SUN AUG 07 SUNDAY:

Lunch or Dinner with Adam and friends

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Subject: My Moroc Cell; 011.212.76.57.26.14

Please call me on it, shouldn’t be too expensive and surprisingly is free on this end for any incoming calls. Once we have that connection confirmed communication will be a snap; if I need to talk to you I will call for one minute and wait for a call.

First wedding was spectacular, got 4 GB of video already packed away in the wolf. Wedding went until 6 AM, then slept ten hours so now 7 pm here. Planned to go to Marrkech tomorrow with people from wedding, although Ibis is full, so may just go to Meknes two nights and Fez two nights, then Taza Friday, all by train. Roman ruins of Volubilis outside Meknes.

Mark

 

Mon, 8 Aug 2005

Mark,

It's Monday 10:00 AM, I just trued to call you on the cell & no answer & no voice mail to leave message on, but I will call again in a few hours.  It looks 99% certain (though the way things have gone so far things can still go wrong) that I will be going on Wendi's ticket & arriving in Mellili on Friday the 12th, & staying later until the 23rd. The Malaga-Melllili ticket is confirmed, & travelocity will email me today the confirmation for the reticketing under my name Wendi's Dallas/ Malaga ticket. 

I am on my way to the Immigration Courts w Motions to Reset all the hearings they had rescheduled for the week I was suppose to return. I'll have to explain to the judges what happened, & by the way could you rearrange your docket , again, to accomodate my summer vacation. The trip sounds good. I hope I join you Friday

Fernando

 

MON AUG 08:

Casablanca to Meknes

Hotel Ibis

 

Mon, 8 Aug 2005

OK MARK, I'M IN!!!

The hearings are all rescheduled. Fortunately my world traveler reputation and horror story about what happened all worked in my favor. I will arrive in Mellili on Friday morning, so where do you want to meet? Should I head straight to Taza? What hotel in Taza? & why Taza, what happen to staying in Fez & going to the wedding from there? It's no big deal either way. I will call you shorty.

Also because you have a video camera, I want you to spend some time beofre I arrive practicing your line for our video scene, where you wear a fez, smoke from a houka, and say, with smoke drifting from your mouth….

"what brings you to the casbah, Mr. Bond?"

See you in Morroco

Fernando

 

TUE AUG 09:

Fez

WED AUG 10:

Volubilis Ruins

 

THU AUG 11:

 

FRI AUG 12:

Wendi arrives Melilla from Malaga, Iberia airlines 10:50 AM

 

SAT AUG 13:

from Fes to Wedding

 

SUN AUG 14:

From Wedding back to Fes at dawn (??)

Fes to Marrakech Train MF3 Depart 0900 Arrive 1640

Hotel Ibis ??

August 15 MONDAY:

Marrakech

 

August 16 TUESDAY:

Overnight trip to High Atlas

 

August 17 WEDNESDAY:

Return to Marrakech

 

August 18 THURSDAY:

Fernando, Tyler, Wendi to Casablanca

 

August 19 FRIDAY:

Fernando and Tyler depart from Casablanca

August 20 SATURDAY:

Mark in Essouira

 

August 21 SUNDAY:

Mark in Essouira

 

August 22 MONDAY:

Mark in Agadir

 

August 23 TUESDAY:

Wendi departs from Melilla

Tue, 23 Aug 2005

hey mark,

I hope you're having a great time in Morocco! i'm back in the states and am very jealous that you're still traveling around Morocco. it was great meeting you and hanging out with you at Adam's weddings, and i hope you had as much fun as i did. I checked out your website, and it seems you've been on some amazing trips throughout your life. Where have you been since Taza, and where else are you going in Morocco?

I've accepted my peace corps invitation to Ghana, and will be going to orientation in washington dc on September 21st, and leaving for ghana on september 24th, where i will (probably) spend 27 months. Right now i'm at the beach with friends in cape may, new jersey, and will be going home to Dallas on Aaugust 27th.

As far as my pictures go, first of all, thank you so much again, and again, and again. you really saved me. i'm not sure how you wanted me to get the pictures from you, but whatever is easiest for you is fine.

Have a great time on the rest of your trip!

liz

 

August 24 WEDNESDAY:

Mark in Agadir

 

August 25 THURSDAY:

Mark Back to Marrakech

 

August 26 FRIDAY:

Imilchil Weddding Festival

 

August 27 SATURDAY:

 Imilchil Weddding Festival

 

August 28 SUNDAY:

 Imilchil Weddding Festival

 

August 29 MONDAY:

??

 

August 30 TUESDAY:

??

 

August 31 WEDNESDAY:

CHEFCHAOUEN ??

September 01 THURSDAY:

??

September 02 FRIDAY:

??

 

SAT SEP 03

CAS-CDG            AF #1797             01:10 – 06:15

CDG-IAH            AF #36               10:20 - 13:50

IAH-AUS             CO #341              15:30 - 16:29