Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Trip I Will Never Forget


Last week I got the opportunity of a lifetime to step into a new continent. When I heard about the opportunity I pounced at it like a tiger. I got the opportunity to go to Morocco for a whole week.

Lets start by talking about the way there. I was in a bus ride for about 20 hours until we finally made it to Fez. It was so tiring but when we finally made it to Fez it had all been worth it. My trip to Morocco was truly an eye opening experience. I learned that Arabs are really pushy businessmen, I learned that a lot of the population speaks Arabic, Spanish, and English, and I learned that Morocco was the first country to recognize the USA as a country in 1777.

The first day we got there the program took us to a place where you can buy hand-made Moroccan carpet. When we got there, we got free mint tea which was delicious and we got a demonstration of their popular carpets. After that, they pulled a classic business move, they split the group apart so that we wouldn't have a lot of bargain power. Carpets were extremely over priced, they ranged from 200 Euro to 150,000 Euro (without negotiation).

As soon as you asked, "How much is this?" they were on your case and walking you towards the register. A lot of people got ripped off that day. Some of my peers bought carpets costing more than 3,000 Euro in some cases. After the carpet place I could tell that a lot of my peers were suffering from cognitive dissonance (regret of the purchase). I was lucky enough to detach my emotions and business while a lot of my friends made purchases just because the seller looked like he needed the money, gave them a really nice story, etc. I like to think I knew better OR maybe it's just because I didn't have the money to buy something that expensive anyway. Ha!

Knowing that I didn't create a budget to buy a carpet, I decided to just play around with the businessmen and see how much I could bring prices down; I looked at it as practice for my negotiation skills. It was really hard negotiating down carpets especially because they had a lot of demand of people that were willing to buy without negotiating and all because they felt bad (even though some of the carpets had a 5000% markup). I did however manage to bring down a rug all the way down to 60 Euro from an initial 350 Euro and all thanks to my professor Michael Sudoo at DU for teaching me how to negotiate.

The carpet businessmen were in Fez by the way.

After the carpet buying frenzy, we went to the Sahara Desert for two nights. We slept in Haymas (tents) and yes it was really hot by day and freezing by nighttime. Being in the desert for two days was definitely an eye opening experience for me. I admire how people actually manage to live there in the burning weather and isolation and still remain happy. Nighttime in the desert was beautiful and peaceful, I had never seen so many stars before. The desert, however, did have some setbacks that might've ruined the time of many of my peers. A lot of my peers got sick either by drinking tap water or by eating certain foods--and lets just say that they spent a lot of time in the bathroom. Luckily, I didn't get sick =).

Meet Jerry
My favorite part of this adventure was that we got to ride camels in the Sahara. It was great crossing it out of my bucket-list. Although it was really fun, it was also painful especially for guys. The day we got to ride camels I immediately went and picked my camel and named him Jerry, he was an angry and lazy camel. When it came time to walk it wouldn't want to get up and walk haha aside from that my camel was really cool.

When the trip came to an end I was honestly pretty happy to return to Madrid and take a hot shower. We didn't shower for 2-3 days in the desert by the way so everyone was feeling a little down. We arrived in Madrid around 7AM and immediately me and my roommate raced to the shower. After the shower I took a great cozy nap and then woke up finished some homework and went to the gym. The trip was worth it and I am happy I got to experience Morocco. =D
Life is Good

Scott, Me, Juan (Left to Right)

On the Ferry headed to Morocco

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