Office Getaway : ANDesign in Africa

The second financial quarter is already underway…we understand the stress that comes with running a business. Believe us. Working in the creative industry isn’t as easy as it may look. Our clients are well educated on product analytics; so going above and beyond is depleting; a moment to reassess is always good.

We love what we do, and, we’re good at it, too.

Our Operations Manager recently got a chance to visit Morocco, a North African country with maze-like medieval quarters, bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, distinguished by its varying Berber, Arabian and European cultural influences. It’s nice to change perspectives, get out of a normal groove and be immersed in a world outside the office.


 

It couldn’t have been a more eye opening experience, according to Lisa Duran. Partly because of the travel agency booked, whom’s mission statement is : “Morocco Planet : Our Wish is Your Command“.

If you need to step away from the digital landscape that most of us have grown accustomed to, then, get up, leave, and travel new parts of the world. We looked around online and encountered a particular boutique traveling agency with raving reviews, Morocco Planet.

Sure enough. Like the reviews left by other patrons, the tour guide was one of the highlights to the trip. While on a tour at Marrakech, a former imperial city in western Morocco, the tour guide went out of his way to grab the group a bottle of wine so they could enjoy dinner under the stars. Mind you, there was no store nearby.

While driving through the sand dunes, the guide pulled over, asked everyone in the car to stay inside, only because he saw rare meteorites on the ground and knew it’d make for the perfect souvenirs to take back home. So, while the rest of the group stayed inside the car, the tour guide faced the treacherous sandstorms and grabbed four pieces of meteor, deep in the Moroccan sands, as a token of appreciation.

As we found out later, our tour guide’s academic background in geography was the best asset. We asked Morocco Planet’s : Amar Taouchikht, the chief storyteller at the boutique travel agency, what it takes to go above and beyond when taking guests to his favorite areas of Morocco; ensuring that each chapter of their Moroccan adventure is a truly unforgettable adventure, a trip that influences individual aspirations and creative goals, and challenges every day taboos while uncovering more about our world and one’s self.

As an experienced tour guide the first minute with any clients, taken by consideration of his or her understanding acquired by his or her research and stereotypes about the country; so here the body gestures shown [on my behalf] are very important; including a big smile and short phrases with clear simple  language.

The concept of making them understand that they’re on vacation has to be confirmed while injecting great feeling of comfort into our customers. The excitation of language has to dominate the conversation. – Morocco Planet Tour Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Especially after the attacks on Paris this past winter, many people reacted extreme about our travel plans across the world. Many biases and stereotypes regarding panic and terror were raised… How safe were we really ?

When searching for safe travel options, we discovered Morocco Planet Day Tours phenomenal track record with safety and security. We checked reviews and ratings about Morocco Planet’s highly praised tour guide; the TripAdvisor reviews speak for themselves. See for yourself. We couldn’t be anymore pleased with every one of his suggestions and his two-weeks of the utmost respectable hospitality.

Morocco is a city of marvelous history. So, we needed to find out : 1.) how influential the culture is and 2.) how exactly did he become such a revered guide…. so we reached out and asked about life as a Moroccan Tour Guide and what it is that makes travelers love Amar Taouchikht so much.


 

– Delabuzz : What is your job title and responsibility ? 

Amar : Well, as an experienced tour guide driver, I have to confirm accommodation from the moment our guests arrive outside of the hotel door and injecting  great feeling of comfort  into customers. The map in the car is a big issue, you have to show them where they are and where they can go with all available options. Also, making  sure they understand that the trip is their own trip and that they have to do it in their own way, by reassuring them we are here to help every need and want by reassuring they have made a great choice to be with our company.                       

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–  Why visit Morocco as a getaway ?

 

A : There’s 4000 years of written history here, excluding oral part of it’s ancient past, according to its diverse Berber background. And the more recent history of its influences is just a glimpse of Morocco…without talking about the influence left over by recognized Roman civilizations, for instance, shown by ruins of Volubilis and Lixus. Arabic and Islamic influence dominates through the era since 768 AD. After state power moved to Fes, their first university, University of al-Qarawiyyin or Al Quaraouiyine was established in 859 AD and is of great pride to the Kingdom.
 
The manner of expression here is so different as activities are so expressive, many of the people in this society are illiterate; they find ways to get by. That’s actually what’s making Morocco to be so identifiable all over the world.
 
 
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– How will a creative agency benefit from visiting Morocco ? 

 

A : International art festivals are the best examples of what we have said about Morocco as a tolerant and multi-cultural country.
 
In our company, as a local one, we are working hard to be unique from how we are showing and sharing the antiquity of Morocco as an example among the entire north African and sub Saharan countries of tolerance in its own culture’s language and religious side. Each area in our Kingdom is known by something different, determined by geographic locations and historic influence as it was not all experienced the same. Something that we can see and feel, from the folklore dress habits and food, gathered all of it to make masterpieces from what the locals do in their daily life.
 
 

 
– Does the expressive nature of the culture influence the art of the culture ?

 

Morocco A : Morocco-19I gained my knowledge horse-running-free and galloping in my fertile lush wild fields, so in brief: just to remind you, the Nature, the culture, the art, are completing each other as a seed and earth and water for a plant, and every artist gets his inspiration from surrounding landscapes and local raw materials, and as I have noticed, the folklore in Morocco has a huge diversity determined by the agriculture habits for each community.  In the north as the weather is perfect for different farming activities, for example, the body movements of dancers are shown off in the same manner; as they get to move their own hands, shoulders, legs, and bending backs as they do when they harvest. So here, nature or daily activity came up with an artistic element. [However], we cannot distinguish these things from each other, so I confirm your question as a Real truth.
 
 

– Tell me about Moroccan art. Why beware of imitations ? (i.e.carpets, jewlery, sculpture, paintings, etc)
 

 

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A : Imitation, let me tell you, is a big enemy and a useful powder for fertilizing the globalization of an unhealed disease attacking the pure side of Cultures.

Here I will start by discerning a very funny description of Morocco, as we do have useful Morocco and useless Morocco. In the north, there are many opportunities as an industrial and administrative zone. People there have many choices to make money; that what we call useful Morocco. But in the south, as a very African side of Morocco, hand crafts are really dominating the daily life of locals, so we can not talk about making money without carpet – pottery – jewelry etc … its motivated by the National Initiative of Human Development to make the access for goods and staff of local producers accessible, to the interior and exterior markets; so eco-tourism does a great job for this.
 
 
 

 

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– Can you tell me about the International Art Festivals?
 

A : International Art Festivals are the best examples of what we have said about Morocco as a tolerant and multi-cultural country. For us, as a tour Operator, it’s a free advertisement to make our country be well known over the world.

  1. Gnaoua World Music Festival Essaouira
  2. Marrakech International Marathon
  3. Festival of Sufi Culture Fez
  4. Dakhla Festival – Dakhla
  5. Mawazine Festival – Rabat
  6. International Film Festival of Marrakech
  7. Merzouga International Music FestivalMorocco-27Morocco-29

 
 
– Tell me about eating w/ the “right” hand and what the “left” hand is supposed to be used for?
 

 

A : In al-Saheehayn it is narrated :‘Umar ibn Salamah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“O young boy, say the name of Allah and eat with your right hand, and eat from what is nearest to you.”

[Bukhari (5376) and Muslim (2022)]

Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“No one among you should eat with his left hand or drink with it, for the shaytan eats with his left hand and drinks with it.”

[Muslim (2020)]

This Prophet’s speech gives a brief description to what you are trying to get through in your question. But in a funny way, before the toilet paper, we used to use our left hand to clean ourselves, and as we are sharing one dish to eat together as family, we use our right hands because then all of us know that it was not touched by nothing disgusting.

 

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“Whatever YOUR reason for celebration, let us take care of the details so YOU can just relax and enjoy. From our hearts to Yours – Welcome to Morocco!”


Thank  you again, Amar Taouchikht, for sharing your life with the world.

According to Lisa, our Operations Manager, trips like these help inspire creative ways to go about daily routines. You can pick up new tricks, new perspectives, and an appreciation for the “mundane”.  The hustle of the merchants, the rural landscape and artisan culture of Morocco displayed the genuine beauty of Earth’s raw materials, which has been a muse of inspiration for artists since the dawn of time. 


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*all photos by Lisa Duran, interview by Jon Andrino.

One thought on “Office Getaway : ANDesign in Africa”

  1. Mahalia says:

    I have been so beriedewld in the past but now it all makes sense!

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