Aida Zabidi
I had such an amazing time in Morocco.

It really was an easy country to love, and such a beautiful one - filled with rugged landscapes and colour, and so much unexplored territory. The locals were so friendly, and we had good food everywhere.

We went from the desert to the mountains to the seaside, explored the bustling souks and haggled until we couldn't haggle anymore. We conversed to locals with sign language and broken English, and enjoyed the beautiful riads in the different parts of the country. We took photos in the Blue City, and the colourful markets.

Go in the months which are not quite as hot, and travel with locals. We chose to go with Mustafa from Morocco Cheap Travels and were very happy with their services, they were professional, friendly and very flexible.

You can walk most places, and transport in both Marrakech and Fez were reasonable, especially if travelling in a group of three. 

For photos, check out the hashtag #MarocRendezvouz on Instagram!

Moroccan Rendezvouz from Aida Zabidi on Vimeo.
Aida Zabidi
"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." -Gustave Flaubert

I'm having travel withdrawals.

I think I've left a part of myself in the desert.
Aida Zabidi
We decided to spend a night in the desert during our trip to Morocco, and it was breathtaking.

When I initially booked the trip and saw the option of camel trekking, I thought it would be an easy short camel ride (you know, those 'tourist rides') to the campsite. Little did I realize it was an actual trek, and we were on those camels for a good 90 minutes with our Berber guide, surrounded by nothing but sand.

Being on a camel isn't easy. They look cute, and they definitely look pretty graceful as they're gliding across the sand, but sitting on the saddle on one hump definitely isn't the most comfortable place to be. Add that to ascending and descending sand dunes and you have a pretty bumpy ride. That said, it was just part of the experience - and it really made me think about the nomads in the olden days who had to spend months trying to cross the desert. 

Meet my baby camel!

There's something primal about the desert.

Perhaps it's the aloneness, and the vastness of the place, and how deserted it seems. We were on our camels for a good hour between the hotel and our campsite, with no view of any other people. If our guide had a heart attack and died, we would have been stranded with no idea where to go. It also seems like the guides have a strange sense of humour, making jokes about the possibility of getting lost and ending up on the Algerian border (apparently Morocco and Algeria have some political disputes going on). 

But lose yourself in the ride, and experience the silence of the desert. Experience the amazing sunset across the red sands, and watch how the colours of the sands grow deeper the further in you go. While we all started the ride chatting to each other, we spent the latter half in silence, just absorbing the scenery.

Once we arrived to our campsite, we were greeted with the unfortunate news that the generators were down. To be honest, it wasn't too much of a big deal.

We still got fed, and the Berbers still got out their drums and played some rhythms for us, and we ended up dancing underneath the stars.

And the stars!

What can I say?

I've never seen so many stars in my life.

Our guide grabbed a blanket and brought us further away from camp for some stargazing, He made us a Berber pillow, essentially where they shape the sand like a pillow to lie on, and we just watched the Milky Way in all its glory, and perhaps, even saw a shooting star.

Would I recommend the trip?

It's an unmissable experience - a must do, even if it's just once in your life. There's something about the desert that's entirely captivating, that feeds your soul in a way I cannot explain with words. 

Don't take my word for it. Experience it for yourself.
Aida Zabidi
Traveling to Morocco was like being transported to an era many years ago.

We had dropped into the city of Fez, and the very first day we dove straight into the myriad tunnels of the Medina, moving along with the evening crowd into tunnels that seemed to get smaller and smaller as we went, with many different entry points and exits, and we walked until we were no longer certain where we were, surrounded by the bustle of people, donkeys and the scent of spices - and perhaps that was the charm of the Morocco.

It definitely wasn't for the claustrophic.

That said, there was a certain charm about it. 

Call it the books of adventure I used to read as a child, about exotic lands far away, but I loved hearing the mixture of French and Arabic being thrown about, loved the energy of the people and the place. 

There was so much colour, and so much personality.

Definitely a must visit, and a photographer's heaven. For photos, check out the hashtag #MarocRendezvouz on Instagram!

Aida Zabidi
Today someone told me that the reason I didn't have children because I would probably be a bad mother.

I was not prepared for how it made me feel.

I know logically that it wasn't the slightest bit true, but I was unprepared at how hurtful it was, and how quick I was to want to believe that statement. It was easy to agree, to blame myself for a perceived inadequacy that others had found so easy. It was surprising that I wanted to shift the blame on myself for not being able to conceive - something perceived to be a natural process for a woman.

My husband and I have been married for two years now, and been actively trying for a year, with no avail. Neither of us have really thought much about it, but when I heard that statement, a thousand and one insecurities surfaced from the recesses of my mind. 

What if I was infertile?
What if we couldn't have children?
What if we couldn't have children because we had made awful mistakes in the past?

What if, what if - so many what if's.

I knew in my logical heart of hearts it was more likely to do with my irregular periods and a hormonal imbalance, but I also knew that it had been a year of active trying with no results. If it was a friend, I would have asked them to consult a doctor.

My husband said that Allah will decide the time, that it will happen when the time is right - and I'm thankful for the reminder. It is a reminder that we are who we are, and our challenges shape our characters into the people we are supposed to be - for all our strengths and weaknesses, for all our perfections and imperfections, we are exactly where we are meant to be.

In the meantime, I think it's time I make an appointment with the gynaecologist.
Aida Zabidi

Heading to Morocco in a week. 

It'll be the first time I've been to a country that needs a Visa (I suddenly realize how lucky we Malaysians are to be able to travel without actually needing a visa at all, considering the number of places I've been).

First time in Africa, and I'm excited!
Aida Zabidi
I received a subpoena to testify for a court case regarding a patient I had attended to a few years earlier in Muar; a high school girl who had been raped by her father.

I think there are patients in your career that you never forget. Sometimes, as the people who first see the cases you can't help but wonder what happened to these patients, and I was thankful that justice seemed to be incoming.

Until I got the call from the district officer that the case had to be postponed.

The child apparently had changed her mind after the first day of the court case and had patched relations with her father - her own father who had raped her repeatedly from the age of 8. She was 14 when I met her.

I have no idea what happened in the time span of a day to make her change her mind. From what I managed to glean, she had become upset in the course of proceedings, either with the police or the legal counsel.

The case apparently has to be re-filed as they prosecutors couldn't proceed without the child's cooperation.

The legal process is so tricky. Two years and it's only now that the case has come up to court, only to be abandoned.

I can only hope that the victim has recovered and gone on with her life.
Aida Zabidi

It's true. 

The things, and the ones who matter most, are the ones you'll be most vulnerable to - and opening up has so much possibility that things will go pear shaped, and you might hurt yourself in the process.

Does that mean it's not worth it?

Only if you never want your heart to bloom.

Only by opening yourself up to the potential hurt you will learn to grow.
Aida Zabidi

As painful as it seemed at the time, it always led to something better.

Have faith.