I am compelled to write this... the ideas lingered for the past few days. And I thought, why not...
I did a trip during Ramadhan month (fasting month for the Muslim) sometime in year 2007. Honestly I can't remember why we opted for Ramadhan month to travel, perhaps Wahidah can jog my memory abit. And I know we did (or at least I did!) contemplate on whether should I proceed. To make it worst, my late dad passed away few months earlier and obviously I was emotionally unstable.
Being the strong headed person at times (at times? Yeah right Lily!), I decided to go ahead with the plan; since I have paid the flight and all plus I needed a break from the whole '.......' (you know what I mean...). Making this decision knowingly people will talk behind your back wasn't easy.... but then again, people will always talk right? Esok-esok lupa ler tuh kan.... Whatever....
I guess there was a reason for everything that HE decided for us, blessing in disguise so they say (ada hikmat di sebalik dugaan); what else better to do but to submit to HIM (redha).
Enough with the intro... tau tau 3-4 para dah tulis, gilerrr... ish!
The only thing I know about this trip is that I will be going to Morocco & Spain. And that Morocco is Maghribi (clap clap clap! Sungguh pandai anda Lily!) and that the trip falls during Ramadhan. Ok ok ok!!! That's pure lie, I know I will be landing in Casablanca and there's a popular song of the same name (see! I know something [at least. Proud moment]). Oh!!!! And that there's this famous Jemaa El Fna. Yup! My knowledge stops right about here. Hahhahhaha....
So, months before the trip Wahidah & I did all the necessary research and the plan is to space out our activities (foreseeing we will be more tired than usual). Due to my minimal knowledge in Islamic history (hey!!! I studied in Chinese school all my life, gimme a break ok!); we split in such a way that Wahidah handles Morocco sightseeing and booking and almost everything and I Spain. This way, we will be able to off-load each other and there should not be any 'argument' on "I did most of the work" or "Why did she chose this place" etc. Of course, once either party have identify and crafted the daily route, we will have a discussion to ensure both party are happy and satisfied on selected attractions or activities (and cost). Haaaa.... demokrasi terpimpin bak kata P.Ramlee, fair idak?
For those who plan to do travel during Ramadhan, do consider visiting country during cooler weather. Don't choose those scorching hot countries as you'll get dehydrated and tired easily. And kindly spread out your activities.
Oh! My trip was in autumn so you know (smart huh!). And I fasted the whole trip, tak penat pun kot, but to those who can't take it (fasting); berbuka ler (break your fast), kang pengsan lak masa jalan. Jangan blame orang if so lah iya. Else jangan jalan masa puasa.
Biggest attraction in Casablanca (well, aside from the song) is the Hassan II Mosque.
The Hassan II Mosque (Arabic: مسجد الحسن الثاني) is a mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. It is the largest mosque in the country and the 7th largest mosque in the world. Its minaret is the world's tallest at 210 m (689 ft).
It stands on a promontory looking out to the Atlantic Ocean. A total of 105,000 worshippers can gather for prayer at the mosque simultaneously, 25,000 inside the mosque and another 80,000 on the mosque's ground outside.
Walking to this mosque from where we stayed was challenging as we initially thought it was near and that the road condition was 'strollable".. err.. not! Tak pa, jalan ke masjid dapat pahala (hemmm... patut buat solat sunat masjid kan... tak ingat lak masa tuh).
Inside the Hassan II Mosque, huge huh!
If I am not mistaken, this is a spa? No? Do share for those who know.
Got a slight culture shocked here, then we made a deduction that this caters for the non-Muslim and foreigner.
Best Musafir Ramadhan Experience Ever
**This is strictly base on my true experience and personal opinion.
Upon arriving to Marrakesh from Casablanca via train, we were greeted by taxi drivers. We were hesitating on which one to take, then appraoch an old decent man who speaks perfect English offering his service & help. Hemmm.... he looks honest, those type of people you have a good hunch about. So we quickly agree and furnishes him with our riad's address.
This is the interesting part. The suspense starts right about here....
While driving us to the riad, he asked whether we are Muslim (guessing as he noticed Wahidah was wearing a headscarf). We said yes (looking at each other worriedly - apahal lak pakcik nih kan!?) then the next question caught us (well, me at least) by surprise.
"Ah!!!! Musafir?" He said.
We said yes.... (well obviously right?). Guess what?
After asking whether are we were fasting, he later asked us to break fast at his home with his family. We were like errr...... talking to each other in Malay wondering can this man be trusted, will he kidnap us etc etc..yah yah... I watched way too much movie. I KNOW!
We said, why not we accept and tawakal, he looks decent and nice. Insyaallah
We got to know he used to work in British Council thus his fluent English and that he have 2 kids, a boy and a girl. Just about then, we reached the riad and he said that he will pick us up at 6pm.
In the riad...
We still wondered whether we have made a right decision. Since we agreed to tawakal and think positively, we quickly look for souvenirs to bring over, can't be going empty handed right?? Where's Malaysia hospitality???
I realised I have a box of chocolate biscuit and a pario that we can bring over. OK! All set!
Journey to a stranger's house...
Still worried hence we start memorizing all the corner and turn of the journey ie from our riad to his 'house' just incase we need to hail a cab. He stop and bought some bread and drove us outskirt. Giler panic ok! We arrived at what in Malaysia look like shophouses but with slightly wider in width. He parked and ushered us upstairs.... Dap dup dap gak lah masa nih.. tuhan jek yang tahu.
Then we arrive and the door opens... GOODNESS!
His house is big and super clean, his wife barely said a word (language barrier kot), then he called his kids to greet us. His daughter is so beautiful and his youngest son was cheeky.
We saw the food spread... macam mana nak habis nih. Banyak nye.
We took some pics and handed him our token of new friendship. His wife was delighted as the orange pario/scarf matched her Idul Fitr new dress. YES!!!
The kids were happy with the chocolate biscuit. Yeay!
After finished eating, he asked us whether we wanted to stay for dinner?
I was like.... DINNER? What is that... that food we just ate?
He said, oh! That food is for breaking fast.
So I enquired, when is their normal dinner time?
Later at 9-10ish... then - sleep. Biar benor.
This transpired later...
- He offered to take us around with minimal charged, which was great cause we got a driver cum 'tour guide'. And he took us to some places which was not in our list. Reason being we thought of settling with the standard HoHo (Hop-In Hop-Off Bus) but this is a better deal. Especially for a talkative person like me (semua bende nak tanya....ehhehehehe)
- We exchanged contact detail with his beautiful daughter and we still keep in touch with her till NOW. Best kan kan kan. Lain kali senang ler nak gi Morocco. Hehheheh....
He took us to more places but here I will only be sharing a few... else penat you all baca I cite. If nak jugak, I buat entry lain.
2nd hand market, outskirt of the city.
One section of the inside.
The friendly driver, lupa lak nama. Wahidah help!
The famous Jemaa El Fna.
The fasting (puasa) and sahur story...
Banyak lak story mory kali nih, hehehheheee.....
As I have mentioned earlier, we stayed at a riad which was walking distance from the famous Jemaa El Fna. The package comes with free breakfast HOWEVER as we were here during the month of Ramadhan hence we were given 2 choice, sahur OR break fast (ie buka puasa). Take a guess which of this 2 we've chosen. Yup sahur!! Bila masa lah pulak nak masak pepagi. Riad nih kira cam umah orang 5-8 bilik, bukan nye hotel ye.
boy guy told us that sahur call will be at 4:30am. So, slightly before 4:30am we woke up and waited and wondering... (ye lah, kat negara orang and bukan negara Asia lak tuh [benua Africa nih, ish!], di bulan Ramadhan, ada tak sahur kang we all thought). At 4:30am he knocked on our door and said sahur is ready downstairs.
View from our room of our dining area.
Berhidang ok.... segan dak? I have to admit, we were pretty awestruck of the splendid service.
The 3 'pots' are butter & jams.
We will just walk to souk and Jemaa El Fna to grab some bread there but most of the time we will have maggi mee (kemut duit tau!). Even that, the guy will ask us whether we want tea and provide us with hot water for our maggi, in fact he offered us local delicacies that few days we were there. Best kan! Kira kene gi lagi skali lah.
If anyone ask me how and what do you feel about Morroco?
Courtesy and hospitality at its best.
PS : Doa musafir teraniaya makbul, so; doa banyak-banyak. Banyak bawak bersabar sebab bulan Ramadhan.
PPS : My cat on hyper active mode. Yeah lar; kucing tak yah puasa. Cis!