Toubkal, first day

kb_ma15_0046Invited by Mustapha of Atlas and Sahara Tours, Karla and I started our Morocco trip getting to know the Atlas mountains. So after a night’s sleep in a budget hotel in Marrakech’s Medina, we got to our pick up point twenty minutes earlier than scheduled and were pleasantly surprised to find our driver Brahim already waiting for us. After a short introduction, we got into his brand new SUV and headed to Imlil, at the heart of the Toubkal National Park.

Shortly after leaving the city, the road crossed olive plantations, the main product in the region surrounding Marrakech, and started climbing as we drove through Tahnaout and Ansi. Two hours later we arrived at the village of Imlil and the gorgeous Riad Jnane Imlil.

Berber hospitality, a centuries old tradition, was honored by our hosts: mint tea was waiting for us on a terrace with a breathtaking view of the snow covered mountains...

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Morocco

91588551_4589cda0d4_oI would have a free week in Carnival, so I asked Òscar where he would like to go. He answered straight away: Morocco – because of the movie Casablanca I’d always wanted to know the country.

I have already visited Morocco in Easter holidays on 2002, but the trip was a bit complicated. I got really sick on the very first day of the trip. I was so bad that the hotel had to call a doctor. I was traveling by myself and all in all wasn’t very pleasant. After Marrakech, I took a tour to the desert because I’ve always dreamed of seeing the Sahara Desert. I visited the Atlas, Kasbahs, Dades, Merzouga and slept in camel hair tents on the desert. Then I went to Fez and Essaouira. At the end, I never got to write about this trip in Errante. I came back from my holidays really involved in my doctorate’s work and the memories stayed exclusively in my head.

Now it was time to come back to Morocco, with someone since my experience alone wasn’t that good...

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Izakaya, bar food and snacks

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Food in Japan

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Beer in Japan

kb_jp14_0719I’m not an expert in beer, I’m a wine person, but when I travel I drink beer. It’s practical and refreshing.  In Japan I’ve drunk Kirin, Sapporo, Yebisu, Asahi… I couldn’t say which is my preferred one. Asahi and Yebisu are considered to be better and Kirin looks like to be the most popular since it is everywhere. What caught my attention in terms of beer in Japan is that they like it very cold, like us Brazilians. After some moths living in Berlin, where beer is not always very cold, it was good to get a “freezing cold” beer in Japan.

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Different toilets in Japan

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Transport in Japan

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Camel burger

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In Dubai, at Al Fahidi historical neighborhood I saw a restaurant sign “Camel Burger”. I didn’t resist it. I tried for the first time camel meet. I thought it tasted like other burgers, but this had a cinnamon taste on it. Maybe that was to disguise the camel taste or it was only a local culinary practice. Concluding: approved!

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City tour around Dubai – 2nd day

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Dubai

Dubai’s tour has two lines: blue and red. I started my day in the blue line which goes to the beach and the financial center of the city. Dubai has high temperatures the whole year through. Now, in the fall, it was a “mild” 35°C. In summer, daily temperatures are higher than 40°C, so the beach should be one of the main attractions of the city.  Unfortunately, like in most Islamic countries, it’s mainly for tourists. Jumeirah has some beach clubs that, depending on the day, are women only. I imagine that might be mostly visited by the locals and not so much by foreigners.

My first stop was Jumeirah Public Beach. From there you can see the famous Burj Al Arab. I’ve seen a documentary on the construction of this luxurious hotel and that made me want to see it from up close. Burj Al Arab is considered a 7 stars hotel and was built on an artificial island. The building’s base is made of 230 concrete spikes embedded in the sand...

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A visit to Sharjah on Dubai Tour

sharjahDubai is a big, spread out city with limited options of transportation. Cabs are expensive and the different attractions are pretty far away. That’s why one of the best options to move around the city is taking a Hop-On Hop-Off tour. This way you’re free to stop anywhere you want, for as long as you want, without depending on any group or having to follow someone carrying an umbrella. My choice was BigBus Dubai. I recommend the 48h ticket. It’s not so much more expensive than the 24h ticket and a day is not enough to get to know this interesting city.

Sharjah

I started my BigBus tour in Sharjah, a city next to Dubai. More conservative than her modern neighbor, Sharjah is a big city with broad avenues and residential buildings. Everything looks quite modern too, like a newly built city. The tour takes 3,5 hours and has two stops. The first one was on The Heritage Area, an historical Center rebuilt with traditional style houses and little museums...

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