Johann’s “Business Trip”

Wow! So much has been going on that there hasn’t even been time to write about it. One thing at a time…

First on the list of (somewhat) current events is Johann’s trip to Morocco. That’s right, Johann’s trip. I didn’t get to go. His company takes everyone on a trip in January if they have reached the previous year’s sales goals. How well they did determines where everyone gets to go. So to get to Marrakech they had to do better than the year they went skiing in the Alps, but worse than the one when they were all taken to Brazil.

They got to bring spouses the year they went to Brazil. Unfortunately, they abandoned that practice. It’s technically a work trip, with planning meetings and such in the mornings, but the afternoons are either free or filled with company-organized outings. They discovered, though, that the employees tended to ditch the outings and spend time alone with their spouses when given the chance. And since part of the point of the trip is for the team to do a little bonding, they don’t invite us distracting extras along anymore. Sigh.

Did I mention that they stayed at Club Med? They did. Sigh. Fortunately, Johann understood that the quality of the souvenirs he brought back would determine exactly how long he had to listen to a bunch of sighing on the subject of missing out on Club Med in Marrakech, so he didn’t disappoint and brought me back some lovely things from the souk (open-air marketplace).

This wasn’t as easy as it sounded, though. There was just too much to choose from, and too many insistent vendors to rebuff. One had quite the scam going. He would come up to tourists and place his monkey on someone’s shoulder, then encourage their friends to take a photo. After they did, he would ask for the monkey’s sitting fee: “Twelve euros, please!” I doubt there are many tourists green enough to pay him the asking price, but Johann’s group did cough up two euros for the photo. There was another man trying the same trick for the same price with a snake. If you’re ever there and want to find him, I would imagine you could just head in the direction of the shrieking and crying.

The activities sounded fun, though, and I was sorry to miss it all. He and his colleagues were chauffered in up the side of Mt. Atlas in 4X4s, where a traditional Moroccan tea (hot tea made with fresh mint leaves) was set up. Then they drove to a nearby lake, where lunch was being served in tents on the shore. They also visited a beautiful and ornate palace that, back in its day, boasted a separate room for each member of the harem. What lucky, lucky girls.

The company also organized a dîner-spectacle (dinner and a show) right there at Club Med. The acts included a belly dancer, snake charmer, acrobats and a woman who danced with a platter of lit candles on her head. There were also two youths standing at attention at either side of the stage, each holding a camel. This looked promising, entertainment-value-wise, but it turned out that they were there more for decoration.

Johann recommends Morocco overall, but says he wishes they had stayed somewhere closer to the coast, like Casablanca. He would also go when the weather is warm enough to swim. He thoroughly enjoyed the all-inclusive experience, though. Pools, open bars, buffets, spas, golf, tennis and other sports never fail to please, do they? More photos of his trip can be seen at right under “Photos” and the link to the hotel is here:


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