IFRANE, Morocco – While studying abroad last semester, I was introduced to a new form of transportation: camels. My classmates and I traveled to the town of Erfoud in the Tafilalt Oasis on Nov. 16. We went on historical tours, visited a fossil museum, attended Quran recitations and, my favorite part of the weekend, took a sunrise camel ride into the Sahara Desert. Although we had to wake up at 3 a.m. to catch the caravans into the dunes, the experience of riding a camel into the desert as the sun rose in the distance was unforgettable. There are few words that can describe the beauty of the desert. The landscape looked artificial, but I was quickly shaken into reality when I hopped onto the shaky, two-humped camel. Camels are definitely an interesting form of transportation, but they are not the most comfortable. I think I’ll stick with trains, buses, planes and cars. The Tafilalt Oasis is the second largest oasis in North Africa, behind the Nile Valley. It is manmade and said to date back to the Paleolithic Age. Because of its age, it is considered the best place to buy fossils in Morocco. In fact, the owner of the local fossil museum, Ibrahim Tahiri, is the main exporter of fossils from the Moroccan desert to Europe and North America. The fossil museum was not the only history Erfoud had to offer. Our professor, who organized the trip, arranged a tour of the Qasr al-Fada, a palace complex built by prince Moulay Abd al-Rahman in the early 19th century. Today, curators and descendants of the prince’s slaves still live in the parts of the complex that are not open for public viewing. The weekend reminded me how true and genuine Moroccan hospitality can be. We traveled to many small villages within the Oasis. Each time we walked through the gates of a new town, we were welcomed with Moroccan mint tea and an array of nuts. Our group consisted of approximately 25 people, but Moroccan men and women welcomed us into their homes as if we were old friends. This hospitality continued throughout the weekend when we were received at two different Zawiyahs, places of prayer and retreat. Not only did the people there welcome us as honorary guests, but they also provided us with entertainment, Quran recitations and tasty Moroccan tagine, a type of stew. My favorite part of the evening was the Quran recitations. Although I don’t know Arabic, listening to the men sing the verses was surreal. The verses became more upbeat as the evening progressed, and the musicians even broke out some drums. Islam is sometimes perceived negatively in the Western world, but I was able to witness a side of the religion that is rarely shared with the wider public. Contact Kaitlyn Rabach at [email protected]
In their first official road game of the season on Saturday, the Wisconsin men’s basketball team downed their in-state rival Marquette for the second year in a row. This win played no small part in propelling the Badgers up to No. 7 in both major polls.UW head coach Bo Ryan was asked Monday at a news conference whether or not he expected his team to be more energetic this week in practice in response to this weekend’s results.”I hope I’m coaching guys that every game, every practice, every time they come out, it isn’t any different as far as their approach to what they’ve got to do,” Ryan said. “I’m hoping they’re ready to come to work today, because with me it won’t be different. I’ve already forgotten about Saturday.”Monday’s [game] is still a faint memory [only] because we get so many calls from the NBA people about the guard from Winthrop,” Ryan continued, referring to scouts’ inquiries about Torrell Martin’s 31-point performance at the Kohl Center Dec. 4.In the game at Marquette, freshman guard Trevon Hughes, who didn’t play a single minute in the Badgers’ win against Winthrop, logged a career-high 18 minutes. Conversely, freshman guard Jason Bohannon, who is averaging nearly 18 minutes per game, never took off his warm-ups against Marquette.Ryan denies that this fluctuation in playing time is due to poor performances by either of these players, but rather it is a result of the circumstances surrounding each game.”It wasn’t a shock to any of the guys on our team if one guy gets a bunch of minutes in one game that maybe he didn’t get in another. It’s the environment, the elements, the type of game, the size, the speed, the ‘this,’ the ‘that.’ There are a lot of factors that go into who’s on the floor and who isn’t.””Send it in, Jerome!”One Badger who was on the floor for nearly the entire game was senior Alando Tucker. He scored a game-high 28 points, an effort that included three slam dunks.Without question, Tucker has looked to finish with a crowd-pleasing dunk more this season than in years past, when he seemed content to lay the ball in.”It depends on if there’s a help player there, or on his take-off,” Ryan said of Tucker’s decisions near the rim. “He doesn’t try to dunk every time. A lot of times, if you try to dunk, it takes a little longer to gather yourself and to get the ball in position, and the help defense can get over there and get a piece of it.”Unlike the NBA, dunks are not an official stat kept in college basketball. Nonetheless, Tucker was unofficially credited with only two dunks all of last season. Through 10 games so far this season, he has already slammed 12 times.”Sometimes he’ll dunk if he feels there’s a reason, maybe some contact, or the position that he’s in, or his take-off ability, how he was planted,” Ryan said. “Other times, you just want to quickly get it to the backboard.”Division-I athletes are students, tooWisconsin is in the middle of a stretch of five straight games against opponents that made last year’s NCAA Tournament. This includes the wins against Winthrop and Marquette, as well as the upcoming match-ups with UW-Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Pacific at the Kohl Center.To make this stretch even more difficult, finals begin for the players this weekend, as they do for all UW-Madison students. Ryan has made it clear that academics are of first priority, particularly following the ineligibilities of two players last year.”If they have a tutorial session, if there’s a study group, guys have left practice,” said Ryan, who had to deal with the academic ineligibilities of Marcus Landry and Greg Stiemsma in the 2005-06 season. “We’ve been down to 12 guys at a couple of practices at the end because of what time study groups started.”
The campfire ban in place for the Prince George Fire Centre will remain in effect despite cooler temperatures over the past number of days. The announcement was made as the fire danger rating remains at high-to-extreme, and the risk will increase with warm, and dry weather ahead.In all prohibited activities include: burning of stubble or grass, any open fire including campfires, fireworks, burn barrels, and tiki torches, as well as other kinds of torches.Over 30 fires remain active in the area with 100 firefighters battling the blazes.- Advertisement -Anyone found in violation may be issued a ticket of $345, be required to pay an administrative penalty of $10,000 or, if convicted in court, fined up to $100,000 and/or sentenced to one year in jail.