"Camels, Beaches, and Seafood" by Ammarah Rehman
Kenitra has beaches? When my friend and I arrived in Kenitra, we had zero expectations for the city and what it would look like. Our Arabic professor Fadoua insisted we come visit her hometown of Kenitra and allow her to take us around the city. We arrived in Kenitra on a quick thirty-minute train ride from Rabat. Our professor picked us up and drove us straight to the beach and pointed at different cafes on the coast of the Sebou River. We drove through the town and arrived at the newly renovated boardwalk of the beach. Kenitra has an actual beach rather than rocks on the coast like some of the beaches in Rabat.
The sand gleamed in the sun as people walked along the beach taking pictures or riding camels. Fadoua knew a friend who owns camels on the beach. She took us to him and told the man we were her students from America. Immediately, he told us to get on the camels, and he would take us around the beach. My friend and I sat on the camels and our professor next to us told us not to get scared when the camel stands up. As camels stand up, they jerk up and down as they extend their legs. It gives you a mini heart attack and you feel like you’re about to fall forwards. We got off the camels, and Fadoua started to try and pay the man, but he refused to take any money from her. He repeated over and over again that she was his sister and sisters do not pay. He told her that she brought guests to Morocco and that guests ride for free. Regardless, she stuck a few coins in his pocket anyways. The man then turned to my friend and I and said that we were his sisters too just like Fadoua and we could come back to ride his camels anytime we wanted.
We walked along the coast of the beach and started taking pictures of each other. In one of our pictures, a group of boys and girls tried to photobomb a selfie. Fadoua thought it was so funny and went over to the boys to ask them their names and see if they were from Kenitra as well. I couldn’t understand the entire conversation, but understood when Fadoua told the boys we were from America. Instantly, the group came over to us and said they want to speak in English in order to practice what their English. One of the boys, Driss, suggested we grab seafood for lunch since seafood is the best in Kenitra. He told us that Kenitra is the best city in Morocco and they suggested several different restaurants to try. Kenitra truly was a city like no other in Morocco. Nowhere else have I seen people with so much joy and live the way they did in Morocco. After Driss and his friends left, Fadoua turned to us and said, “See, people in Kenitra are very friendly. It must be because of the beautiful beach that everyone grows up by and the ability to come by and relax in the sun that makes everyone super friendly.”