Day 17: North Africa to…

Day 17: Sunday, 28 April 2019 – Marrakesh, Morocco (31.6295° N, 7.9811° W)

Happy Easter to our Orthodox friends…noting says Jesus has risen like multi-colored peeps and chocolate bunnies.

We arrived last night late from Athens to Marrakesh, Morocco…a town celebrated the wedding of Idris Elba—and that explains why we had to look to over 50 properties here before finding our home away from home—not the 50th worst, just 50–big, small, riads, boutiques, location, etc. But we are here at the Savoy Le Grande Hotel for two nights…

Teams slept in and dined well before our 11:00am meeting…

Observation…boarding the plane last night from ATH-RAK, flight attendants handed out long white Easter candles to all…I asked when we would lite them…they were not amused. Note to FAA: Candles on planes, yes or no?

Observation #2…many ladies on flight from scantly-clad Athens to more conservative Morocco quickly put long dress covers over their exposed bikini-bottomed butts and long-sleeve shirts on  before exiting the planes. Living in two worlds?

First, closing the books on the last Athens (Par 2) Leg in which five teams handed in score sheets:

5th – Transformed Travel Goddesses who keep competing and having fun.

There was a tie of 3rd Place – both teams did 25 total scavenges including 1 Bonus earning 965 points for SLO Folks and Order & Chaos.

2nd – went to Lazy Monday, who did 32 scavenges including 1 Bonus (worth 100) points and won the On-the-Go Team Challenge of 76 points for finding the Chalmers family (in just minutes) earning an adjusted 1,219 points.

1st – went to a team that walked 18.9 miles in 24 hours in Athens—Winning the unofficial Saskia Foot Award—doing 32 scavenges and one Bonus (worth 150 points) and earning an adjusted 1,265 points.

That means the 2019 world travel championship scoreboard looks like this with 7 Par points still to be had over the final 2 legs:
4th – SLO Folks @ 72
3rd – Order & Chaos @ 63
2nd – Lazy Monday @ 34
1st – Lawyers without Borders @ 27 (+9 Par)
2019 – Leader Board

It was a great fun toe-in-Europe leg and we are moving on…

Our participants two-weeks master class in perfecting the art of travel has come to a close. It has been an exciting time with numerous travel lessons learned along the way:

In Vancouver, they learned to hit the ground running with an element of surprise in a soggy wet urban adventure. (BTW our only rain so far!)

In Saigon, the where fish-out-of-water bleary-eyed and jet-legged travelers in a hustling and bustling exotic Southeast Asian destination when the competitive juices really started to kick in. The language barriers were challenging along with detoxing from their comfortable worlds.

In Myanmar, over a long hot four days they dealt with navigating a classic travelers triangle, the logistics of getting from here to there and finding a place for one-night…and the unique cultural nuances that is this special nation.

In Bangkok, they learned a lot about team dynamics in this seat-of-the-pants layover challenge by checking luggage and getting out and being busy—albeit for only a few hours; the marathon 23-day’s on the road aspect of the competition really hit some teams.

In Abu Dhabi, they took another urban adventure with a decidedly unique twist where things are done differently.

In Jordan, they learned that it is all about the choices you make when it comes to Bonuses and the logistical difference between city and rural traveling.

In Athens, they got their toe wet in the Euroland—efficient, normal, Western—but in the throes of a festival national holiday weekend …

Now for their final exam, when all the skills they have learned come together while their situational awareness is peaking and the Travel IQ ready for action. The Big multi-country adventure of the Par 6 North Africa/Iberian Peninsula leg: Over 150 scavenges with 19 Bonuses, 3 Team Challenges and a whole lotta good eating; six exciting days of buses, trains, ferries, camels, trams, bikes and funiculars; four diverse country stops over 1,400km (870 miles) lay between them here in Marrakesh and there in Porto. Oh yea, did I mention May Day!?

Teams were given $300 each to cover their best-guess transpo costs and told that they would be required to secure their own lodgings for three nights (Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday)…all depending on their risk/reward course of action. We will see them Friday at 11:30AM in the lobby of our Porto, Portugal hotel.

Good luck to everyone, be safe, be smart.

Leg Rule Changes:
1) Teaming up allowed, but only in Morocco!
2) Car rentals allowed, but only once, and only within one single country where the rental must be both picked-up & returned.
3) Smartphones allowed.
4) Airbnb & Uber allowed.

So their assignment is to get from here in Morocco to Porto in Portugal.

5-North African/Iberian Peninsula Sample Scavenges:

-Camp out in the Sahara desert for one night…
-Visit the Blue City of Chefchaouen…
-Take a hot air balloon ride over the Marrakesh & Atlas Mountains…
-Make a pilgrimage to visit the sacred place Fátima…
-Have fish n’ chips in Gibraltar…

Their probable first leg…although I might…

Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca…

Don’t forget to follow your favorite teams…although we have no idea where they get the time (or energy?); some of our 2019 teams are blogging, and open to social media interactions:
Lawyers without Borders (blog) –
Order & Chaos (blog) –
Transformed Goddesses (blog) FB & Instagram links –
MargoPolos –  Twitter fed – Margo’s (blog) Karen’s (blog)
The FILLIES (blog) FB + FB & Instagram links –
NEXUS (blog) –
Team Ying 2.0 (blog) –

And finally, as you know we try not to hit our readers/followers over the head about The Global Scavenger Hunt’s cause-related, charitable purposes, but this annual event raises funds for GreatEscape Foundation’s twin goals: building co-ed elementary schools in low & middle income nations, and distributing interest-free no-fee micro-loans to budding global entrepreneurs (mostly mothers). Both our methods of helping others help themselves are designed to facilitate their great escape from the cycle of poverty—one person at a time! Happily, we have improved the lives of thousands: building a dozen schools, a mid-wife training facility, and funding thousands of mothers wanting to make a better life for their families.

So, if you have it in your heart to not eat a lunch out this week in order to make a small secure PayPal GreatEscape Foundation donation during the course of the 2019 event, we know a lot of kids needing a basic education that would thank you. And we’ll thank you too…with a tax receipt. Thank you!

As for us…6 days to kill; what shall we do?