Arabian Nights

When you’ve been deprived of basic commodities, it is then you are made more aware of the little things that make living in America so great. Let’s start with real brewed coffee. In case you were not aware, I have been away with the Marines for a month doing Annual Training (AT). We have been in the beautiful land called Morocco. Also, I’m pretty sure my senior prom was Arabian Nights… 

We arrive at the HTC early AM on April 10th and from there begin our journey to Morocco. Charlotte is where we fly out of. When we arrive in Charlotte we become a part of the infamous waiting game that the military is known for. After a very strenuous TSA bag check, we are on the tarmac boarding our plane and heading to Morocco. 8am Moroccan time rolls around and we are on the deck boarding busses headed to the Moroccan base. This place is weird! It is overcast and comfortable, but at least it isn’t terribly stinky. After our bus drivers pretend to know where they’re going we are headed to base. JRC is what they are calling the place we are staying at for the night. We, as Ammo, naturally segregate, so we go to the tents outside and take advantage of not being wrapped into the battalion shenanigans.

Day two is here. Commence eight-hour bus ride (equipped with bullet hole in the windshield) through the wilderness of Morocco until we are far enough south and in the Sahara Desert.

Bullet hole bus
Rest area food
Rest area
Camel sightings. Also, man dress sightings. This place is weird! We stop by a rest area with local cuisine where we eat tagine (taw-jean), drink Coca-Cola, and pay a dollar to use the restrooms. We pass through one last town and hop, skip, and jump into our training location. We have arrived.

Segregation continues. We immediately move to the Field Ammunition Supply Point (FASP) in order to escape the cluster of stupidity run by LTs. Commence “Operation: Home Bulding” at the FASP. Hours later we are now at a place that looks like a livable space. Home is where the ammo is. 

View from my porch

We are getting days and weeks into this things and we are doing great. The tics are incredibly terrible, but at least the Moroccans have been killing all the snakes for us. We are doing fine. We’ve got showers, tents, limited amount of movies, and people who want to serve all Marines poison water. Sidi Ali (bottled water company) to the rescue! Most of our ammo is issued and I have witnessed a Luitenant argue with our Captain about how their requested ammo became unservicible and they still want to use it. The Luitenant lost that argument and he is now the dumbest Harvard grad I have ever met.

Wrapping up operations and getting ready to go back to the city for some liberty (free time). We arrive couple days prior to what was expected. More libo! We go to the souk (sook – giant flea market) where I discover I am good at haggling (who knew?!). Those poor Moroccans are so mad at me. Restaurants upon restaurants! The food is so good, but the best one we discover is Cafe Targa. For only $2 one can get an omelet, oatmeal, fresh baked bread, latte, and freshly squeezed orange juice. $2 people!

Cafe Targa breakfast sans oatmeal, latte, and bread
You can’t get breakfast at McDonald’s for that price. Days continue and we discover more of Morocco. Club Med is a resort with a day pass that we discover to be the greatest bargain for a day of libo. We get an all inclusive visit to include drinks, meals, and amenities like beach access and pool access. This place is fancy, but Morocco as a whole certainly is not.

Homeward bound. One last visit to Targa before we wait to leave. Very strenuous customs check has us going nuts. We arrive at the airport and leave at 7:31PM Moroccan time. Midnight EST and we have landed. Back in Greenville at 3am. Now it’s 3:30am and I am headed own to Orlando. What a trip!
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Thank you to those who have prayed for us during our travels. Thank you to those who continue to pray for me. Morocco was an incredible experience because I was able to be immersed in an unfamiliar culture and meet some of our allies in the Moroccan military. It was unnerving at first (walking the streets) when you’ve got everyone looking at you and you can’t tell if they could be ISIS. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. You never let your guard down, but you gotta jump the hurdle and make the most of the experience. Glad I was able to. Funny, I was comparing many things to Aladdin and found a lot of that movie spot on in regards to architecture and culture. I will miss the prices of everything and the food, but I do not have an aching to go back for vacation or anything. This was overall a great trip.

Tagine
I love the Marine Corps more for experiences like these. Not only do we Marines get to work together for a while, but we get to have unique experiences that will stick with us forever. Some people hate us, but some people are in awe of us. The Moroccan people were a testament to that. I am thankful for the continued adventures of life God puts before me. Until next time: Be strong. Love God. Love others.

rejoice.always

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