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(yes, the TIME group is safely in Cairo now. Yes, we’ve been here for almost a week. Yes, I haven’t updated in a while because of extremely poor internet connections. Yes, I have a great internet connection now. And yes, I will fill in the gaps between Morocco and Egypt before we leave for part of our Egyptian excursion this Friday (excursion in Egypt works a little differently – instead of going at the end of the month, we have excursion in the middle. Fun fact!))

Back home at St. Olaf, we always have a Fall Break that falls in the middle of October. Even though it’s a measly four days long, I always enjoyed taking a break from school and heading back to good old Duluth for a few days filled with family and friends. For this fall break, going home wasn’t an option (can you imagine flying from Morocco to Minnesota and back in the span of four days?). In order to have time away from our homestays and experience more of Morocco, five other girls and I rented a beach house in the resort town of Oualidia. A tiny town on the Atlantic ocean, it was the perfect place to relax, be lazy, and recharge before heading back to Fez for the final weeks of our homestay.

We took the train from Fez to Casablanca, and then caught a grand taxi from Casablanca to Oualidia. Now let me stop you there – a grand taxi is not as grand as you’re probably picturing. The ‘grand’ only describes the fact that they travel in between cities, rather than within a city like petit taxis do. So essentially it’s a regular sized car that drives a long way. Did we know that going into fall break? Nope.

That’s Lauren, Alex, me, and Jess squished in the back. Katrina and Christina shared shotgun. And then we rode like that for two hours. Then for the ride home, we somehow accidentally arranged for two different cabs to pick us up, even though we still only wanted one to save on costs. The drivers proceeded to yell at each other in Darija for 30 minutes and the one we weren’t expecting to come refused to leave until we paid him off.

All unsavory surprises aside, we ended up having a very pleasant couple of days in Oualidia. We lounged by the pool in our complex, went to the beach, tried out a few restaurants, and cooked our own food. It was nice to be on our own schedules with absolutely nothing to do. We watched lots of movies, stayed up late talking, and slept in ridiculously late. It was just what we needed!

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