3.01.2021

794. Morocco Part 21 | Goodbye Morocco!

Fes cemetery medina
We are now in Casablanca at our airport hotel waiting for our dinner as I write this post. We arrived here this afternoon to spend the day as our flight to Bangkok (via Dubai) leaves tomorrow. This morning was pretty hectic. We had to get up super early (way earlier than our usual wake up time of ~11am lol) to do a PCR test. The lab we went to gives results in 8 hours so it was convenient to do it kind of last minute. I think this was our 5th ever PCR test since last August when beginning this journey. I'm sure there will be many more to come. Luckily, the one today was pretty painless.

After the test, we had to go to a doctor to get an examination as we also need a "Fit to Fly" document to enter Thailand. Afterwards, we did some last minute packing before our driver arrived to bring us to Casablanca. It was about an hour's drive so not bad at all.

I'm not looking forward to the long flights but I'm really excited to arrive. Our quarantine hotel is very nice and I'm excited to blog the experience hahah. I'm actually looking forward to it (some people may dread quarantine) because I can be more productive and I have 5 new books to read. Also, after several days (after we do our first PCR test there) we are allowed out for a limited period each day to go to the rooftop pool. The meals also seem really good and we get exercise equipment in the room so it will be a good experience.

This will be my last post from Morocco. We are finally leaving after almost 3 months here. I really enjoyed it and it was quite a unique and different experience from anything I've had before - my first time in Africa and first time in a Muslim country. The photo above and below are from the cemetery in Fes, looking into the medina in the distance. I forgot to post them before. The rest are from the past weeks in Rabat!

Fes cemetery Rabat Rabat cat Probably the last cat photo I'll post for awhile lol.

Paul cafe breakfast Rabat despacito Starcups Rabat Starcups Coffee.
There's several places with similar logos/names to other popular chains. There was also Sandway and Faceburger lol.

Arribat Centre Arribat Centre
The place we stayed was very close to Arribat Center, which is a huge open-air shopping centre of Rabat. It's pretty nice there and very new. I think they just opened mid 2020. We came almost every day - mainly to the grocery store lol.

Babell Rabat Hummus Zayyane Rabat Zayyane Rabat Zayyane Rabat couscous Morocco convenience store Morocco cat
Ok I guess THIS will be my last cat photo instead of the previous one hahah. There are cats literally everywhere on the streets here. I always feed them if we are eating outside and if there's cats around. This one I gave probably half my chicken shawarma. He kept meowing for more and by the end he just sat there like this. I think he was finally full lol.

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2.27.2021

793. Morocco Part 20 | Moroccan Cooking

Morocco cooking class
Now we are down to our last couple days in Morocco so I need to finish the remainder of these posts. If you've been following me for at least a few weeks, you'll remember we were in Fes before coming to Rabat. In Fes, we had a house that included a fully equipped kitchen and a housekeeper who was an amazing cook. So we cooked pretty much all our meals. I really enjoyed it because we'd go with her to the market for the fresh ingredients each morning then in the late afternoon we would cook together. She knew how to make everything we asked, and the result for each dish were the best versions I've ever had of them. Everything was also very healthy - we didn't eat any processed foods during that time. My favourites were harira soup, vegetables couscous and kefta briouats. Actually I really loved couscous with vegetables and brochettes (skewers)..but cooking the brochettes required the most effort (and it got way too smoky) as it's essentially an open flame barbecue that we did indoors. It was a lot of fun to make though. The chermoula sardines are also amazing but we only made them once. I did write down a few of the recipes so hopefully in the future I'll be able to recreate them..likely not as good without the housekeeper's guidance though lol.

Here are some photos of most things we cooked together. I feel like I'm fairly knowledgeable in Moroccan cuisine now (well, at least way more than before this trip). I'm now inspired to do more cooking classes in our future destinations (maybe a pad thai lesson in Thailand next!)

calico catOur cat watching us cook (& sometimes jumping on the table trying to steal a piece).

Morocco cooking class Morocco cooking class Chermoula sardines sauce harira soup Morocco cooking class Morocco cooking Kefta Mkaouara kefta morocco Morocco brochettes Moroccan cooking class Chermoula sardines Morocco briouats Harira soup Chermoula sardines Moroccan cooking class Moroccan bread Moroccan bread Moroccan spices Moroccan cooking class Moroccan cooking class Moroccan brochettes Morocco pastilla Kefta Mkaouara Moroccan food Moroccan couscous Moroccan cake
Sometimes our guide would drop by "coincidentally" when we were cooking lol. On Dec 31/NYE he came by and brought this cake for us! My name is spelled wrong though ("Tifano") hahah.

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2.23.2021

792. Morocco Part 19 | Snapshots of Rabat + Next Destination!

leftbanked travel
After some weeks of planning (and stress), we finally have our next destination booked!! I guess the Africa portion of this world trip will already end as we will be heading to Asia after! More specifically - to Bangkok, Thailand. I guess we chose it mainly because we've been wanting to enter Asia and at this point, Thailand seems to be the only one open to foreign visitors. It did include a lot of planning/approvals though.

To enter Thailand, the main thing required is a Certificate of Entry. After we got pre-approved, we had to book a government-approved quarantine hotel, flights, etc. To apply for the COE, we needed to buy proper insurance. I got rejected twice due to minor issues with the insurance and each time I had to re-apply and wait a few days for an answer..so it was quite stressful as our departure date was nearing.

Long story short, we got the final approval yesterday! Now we have everything booked and the final step will be to take a COVID test before leaving. For the flight, I'm excited to be flying Emirates for the first time! We have a short layover in Dubai before heading to Bangkok. I'm actually excited for our hotel quarantine as it will be an experience and our hotel is really nice. All the quarantine hotels in Thailand seem really well organized and provide excellent service. Like they make an effort to ensure their guests have a good experience quarantining. We will have an exercise bike, yoga mat and weights in our room. Our meals are provided 3 times a day (and the sample menu looks really good!). They will give us a COVID test on the 5th day and if the results are negative, we will be allowed out to the rooftop pool/lounge for a limited time each day. Then another test is done on the 13th day. Every day we will need to take our own temperature and record it in a special app I think.

I plan to be as productive as I can during that time with work and I guess I will get started on my taxes. I'll also bring some books to read.

So after our 2-week quarantine, we will stay another month in Bangkok before going to one of the islands (hopefully). We also booked our post-quarantine accommodations and I'm super excited about it too! The main thing I'm worried about in Thailand is the heat and humidity. It's going to be mid 30s degrees every day =\ Also I'm not looking forward to the super long flight. But I hope by the time we are done with Thailand, we can enter other Asian countries.

It feels like we've been in Morocco forever. I guess we were here about 2 and a half weeks in total. Here are some random shots taken around Rabat these weeks:

Asiam RabatFor Chinese New Year, we went for lunch at As'iam Restaurant. It's not a Chinese restaurant but close enough lol.

Asiam Rabat Asiam Rabat Asiam Rabat leftbanked outfit Mahaj Ryad Mahaj Riad Oliveri Rabat Thailand Embassy RabatThe Thailand Embassy where we walked to a few weeks ago to get information

Rabat Mahaj Riad despacito Turkit Rabat Turkit Rabat This Turkish place we've been to a few times. It's really good.

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