Morocco, England and France Trip, Oh, My

The Experience

General Impressions

  • Marrakech, Morocco
    • Not many chemicals were used for cleaning because I didn’t smell them
    • Morocco produces enough food and raises sheep and cattle to be self sufficient, except for grains, sugar, coffee and tea.
    • Morocco’s flag is red with a green five-pointed linear star, known as Solomon’s seal in the center of the flag.
    • Many smokers
    • Most people were multi-lingual: Arabic, Berber, English, French, Spanish, even Chinese
    • Beef cost the most among meats
    • Most of the population were Muslims
    • Most of the merchants were good negotiators
    • Small businesses were run and operated by men. No women were seen working in the souks except in food related shops where they just cooked the food and there’s no interaction with customers. I did encounter sells women in pharmacies though and they were dressed in hijabs.
    • Some women wore niqab and/or hijab, some dressed just like the people in the States. They had a choice there. White is the color of mourning.
    • Some men wore kufi and/or abaya, some dressed just like the people in the States.
    • Transactions are mostly in cash, credit card system wasn’t mature
    • The weather was nice. We had sunshine everyday. And the temperature was in the fifties. It would be very hot in the summer and could get to 100 degrees F though.
    • Old and new, modern and traditional, west and east, all reside in this city
    • Marrakech was an oasis
    • Air quality was the worst among these three countries per my own scientific testing method.
    • If you want to have dinner at Jamaa el Fna, go to food stalls No.76 for sheep head and No.100 for kebabs and other foods. They have good people, good food and good service. I’m praising them right now and they don’t even know.
    • I loved the foods, because they were very agreeable to me.
    • If I were to live there long-term, I probably could live on less than $10 for a bed in a Riad and another $10 for food per day, which would’ve cost me less than $800 per month. And I’d like to live there for a longer period sometime in my life and learn the culture and language.
  • London, England
    • Cash free – Everything could go through credit cards like in the States
    • Driver’s seat was on the right size of the vehicle and people drove on the left side of streets. The other two countries that I’ve visited had the same rules were Australia and Japan.
    • Before traffic lights turned green, it turned yellow first.
    • Double decker buses were everywhere.
    • Tour buses were all red.
    • The Big Bus tour buses were Chinese buses.
    • The iconic red phone booths were obsolete and filled with trash.
    • Air quality was better than Morocco, bus not so good as in the States.
    • We didn’t lose anything. The cold weather certainly helped keeping the thieves inside.
    • It was peaceful when we were there.
    • Many Middle East Arabic people, and Italian people.
    • Many smokers.
    • I saw Tiffany, MacDonald, Subway, Starbucks, and Burger King.
    • I saw Shell and BP gas stations.
    • Hollister teen brand shops and Banana Republic were present.
    • There were NKE stores.
    • Police cars were BMWs.
    • People were everywhere even in winter.
    • Fish and Chips were popular, but we didn’t like it.
    • The old buildings in London reminded me of Boston, the modernism reminded me of New York, and the fact that it was rebuilt after a fire reminded me of Chicago.
    • It would be a very easy transition if I were to live in London because there’d be no cultural shock, except that things cost more. I would go experience the city every weekend, especially the museums because they were free. I wouldn’t save any money for sure, but I’d be mentally rich.
  • Paris, France
    • More crowded than London
    • Credit cards system wasn’t so mature as London but much better than Marrakech
    • Cloudy and grey
    • Colder than London. I wore many layers to keep me warm.
    • The weather was harsh compared to London
    • Air quality was better than Morocco, bus not so good as the States.
    • Tiffany, Starbucks, McDonald’s, KFC, Subway, Banana Republic, and Holister were present.
    • Carrefour was the main store. It’s like our super K-mart and super Wal-mart
    • We didn’t lose anything. The cold weather certainly helped keeping the thieves inside.
    • It was peaceful when we were there.
    • The foods weren’t so agreeable to me.
    • We didn’t experience any sunshine when we were there.
    • The French people were so proud of Napoleon Bonaparte.
    • Cost of living was high. The most expensive city to live among the three.
    • We should visit France again sometime in the future because we felt that there were still so many things that we could see and experience. We had just scratched the surface this time. But with the recent explosion of a nuclear plant on Feb. 9, 2017, it’s wise to wait for at least five years.

Financial Implications: would’ve cost $15,822.77, cost us $3,094.03

I’m glad to find that we only spent a little over $3,000 for a thirteen-day trip to three countries for the five of us! Two of the countries were rather expensive places to live.

  • Airfare cost: would’ve cost $10,000, cost us $0, because we used our points.
    • Cost included all airplane trips
  • Hotel cost: would’ve cost $3,066, cost us $397.26
    • New York LaGuardia airport lounge fee: would’ve cost $118, cost us $0
    • Riad in Marrakech: $240 for One room (with six single beds) Four nights
    • Days Inn in London: would’ve cost $750, cost us $0 for One room (with three single and one double beds) Three nights
    • Hotel Du Louvre in Paris: would’ve cost $1,200, cost us $0 for Two suites One night
    • Holiday Inn in Paris: would’ve cost $500, cost us €14.88 x 1.16 = $17.26 for Two rooms Two nights
    • Hampton Inn in Mill Hall, PA: $140 for Two rooms One night
    • 12-22-2016 Lounge at New York LaGuardia: would’ve cost us $59 x 2 = $118 , cost us $0
  • Ground Transportation cost: would’ve cost: $400 + £395×1.3 ($513.5) + €86.5×1.16 ($100.34) = $1,014.84; actual cost: $954.84
    • 12-22-2016 Uber from LaGuardia to JFK airport: would’ve cost us $60, cost us $0
    • 12-23-2016 bus tickets from Heathrow airport to Gatwick airport: $70
    • 12-23-2016 taxi from Marrakech airport to Riad Dia: $16
    • 12-24-2016 horse ride: $10
    • 12-25-2016 taxi to Palais Bahia: $4
    • 12-27-2016 taxi from Riad Dia to airport: $10
    • 12-27-2016 train to London Victoria: £35
    • 12-27-2016 taxi to hotel in Paddington: £14
    • 12-28-2016 taxi to Victoria Coach station: £16
    • 12-29-2016 taxi to hotel: £23
    • 12-30-2016 taxi to British Museum: £12
    • 12-30-2016 taxi to Eurostar station: £15
    • 12-30-2016 Eurostar: £56 x 5 = £280
    • 12-30-2016 taxi to Hotel Du Louvre: €18.5
    • 12-31-2016 taxi to Holiday Inn by Notre Dame: €18
    • 1-2-2017 Uber to Orly airport: €50
    • 1-2-2017 rental car: $150
    • 1-3-2017 toll: $1
    • 1-3-2017 Parking at our local airport: $80
  • Tours cost: $865.5
    • Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou and Ouarzazate day tour: $145
    • Kasbah Aït Ben Haddou tour guide: $8
    • London Big Bus tour: £35 x 5 = £175 x 1.3 = $227.5
    • Stonehenge tour: £30 x 5 = £150 x 1.3 =  $195
    • Paris Big Bus tour: €50 x 5 = €250 x 1.16 = $290
  • Foods cost: $747.48
    • 12-22-2016: $35.13
    • 12-23-2016: $25
    • 12-24-2016: $46
    • 12-25-2016: $46
    • 12-26-2016: $82
    • 12-28-2016: £33.8 x 1.3 = $43.94
    • 12-29-2016: £78.45 x 1.3 = $102
    • 12-30-2016: Lunch at Eurostar station: £6 x 1.3 = $7.8
    • 12-30-2016: Dinner at Le Thermidor: €84 x 1.16 = $94.77
    • 12-31-2016: €153.4 x 1.16 = $178
    • 1-1-2017: €49.7 x 1.16 = $58
    • 1-2-2017 at Carrefour: €20? x 1.16 = $23.2
    • 1-2-2017 ar Orly: €3.5 x 1.16 = $4.06
    • 1-3-2017 caffeine drink driving back home: $1.58
  • Sightseeing Admissions: $12.5
    • Palais Bahia: $4.5
    • Palais El Baddi: $3
    • Kasbah de Taourirt: $5?
  • Souvenirs and gifts: $66.45
    • Souvenirs at Souk: $35
    • Souvenirs at Stonehenge: £6.19 x 1.3 = $8.05
    • Souvenirs at British Museum: £6 x 1.3 = $7.8
    • at Eurostar station: £11.97 x 1.3 = $15.6
  • Misc. unaccounted cost: $50

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