Thursday, July 1

Last day in Morocco

I have been remiss my friends. To leave you so long without an update. My only excuse is exhaustion. When I finally find moments to sit down with my computer it is late and I am so tired I can barely talk, let alone write.

In a way I feel I have been unkind both to myself and to those who will read this by waiting so long. Each day has had its own variety, its own flavor. I have been up, down and all around but to write these posts after the fact seems to lose a bit of the essential essence that is everyday and rather paint over it with a broad brush of my current knowledge and feelings.

But it would be even worse to not write at all so I will start from where I last left off on my blog it was the 29th of June and I was still in Azrou. That night Aydin and I cleaned the apartment then moved a rug and blankets to the roof and sat talking late into the night. To fall asleep under the stars with the chill of the air and warm arms around me is a lovely experience. Though the night was cold I woke in the morning with rays of morning sunlight heating the blankets and encouraging awakening if only to push them off and lay open to the wonderful sun.

There was nothing else much to do that morning but pull ourselves out of bed. The packing had already been finished and so I just grabbed my things and we headed out. We grabbed breakfast at a little restaurant on the way. I must say, the restaurant food in Morocco is lovely the first few times but there are really only four or five foods to choose from and I sincerely feel for Aydin because after a few days they get very very boring and I was quite glad to head into Europe for some culinary variety.

Walking from breakfast we went to the bus station to look for a bus that would take us to Mekness where we would catch a train. However the next bus wouldn't leave until so late that it would have left us little time in Mekness to get to the train station so we decided instead to take a Grand Taxi.

Now I begin this next section specifically with a warning for my parents and those other wonderful people in my life with protective parental feeling for me, you may want to skip this next bit.

Grand Taxis are sort of like normal Taxis. They are normal five seat cars with one driver that go from point A to point B for a specific price. The differences are that Grand Taxis go further, usually from one city to the next and they won't go until all the seats in their car are filled. The other bit that makes it especially interesting is that Morocco does not seem to have any traffic laws anyone is required to follow, and the Grand Taxi drivers try to make as much money as possible by fitting as many people into their car as possible. The result was a two hour trip to Mekness with Aydin and I sitting together in the front passenger seat with four women crammed together in the back, and no seat belts. However, it wasn't until we were just outside Azrou and we stopped for gas without any of us getting out of the car or the driver turning off the engine at all, the entire time he refiled the gas tank that I began to try to find some god to pray to.

Once we were on the road it did not get any better. I spent the trip expecting the passenger door to fly open, or for the car to fly off a cliff as we turned round the bend. Or for a head on collision to occur as the driver sped around other motorists that he decided were going far to slow.

Oh who am I kidding you couldn't help but read that bit could you? :)

Despite the reckless and I admit somewhat exhilarating ride to Mekness we arrived in tacked and found the train station with ease. Because the American dollar is worth so much in Morocco it did not cost us much more to buy a first class ticket on the train so we indulged ourselves and I couldn't be happier that we did.

Though the train was almost an hour late we hopped on and made our way to our designated... room? I have no idea what they are called. In first class, each train car has several little rooms with six very nice comfortable seats. When we arrived, five of the six seats were full when we arrived but it seems that one poor man had found his designated seat in another room full and so had found an empty seat here. We kicked him out. I hope he found his seat.

In our room however we could not have been more fortunate for the people we sat with. There were two older business men who were quite nice but more interested in talking about their rich mundane lives split between London and Morocco than anything I found intriguing. However our other two companions must have been sent from the grand travel gods themselves. Gustav and Julia came from Brazil. Neither was an expert in English but they were creative and very friendly and their passion and intelligence shown through any barriers of communication. I could only wish at the time that I knew Portuguese to talk with them even better. Aydin and I chatted with them non stop the entire trip. The commonality Aydin and Gustav seemed to find in movies and music was uncanny and Julia and I shared more than one look together of shared amusement.

Our friendship built quickly and easily and we were already sharing the risqué jokes of close friends by the time we were halfway through our journey. Jokes we told behind our older companions backs and giggled like school children when they returned.

After a six hour train ride we arrived in Tangier on the northern tip of Morocco. We waved goodbye to our to older companions then turned to our new friends. They were heading to Spain as well but were taking a ferry to Tarifa instead of Algeciras like me. We hugged and exchanged emails and I looked forward to hearing from them in the future.

Aydin and I had to travel by taxi again, a normal one this time, to the older port several miles away from the train station. As we drove I felt my spirits lower and tears come to my eyes. As I watched the beautiful landscape drift past us all I could think of was all the things I would miss about Morocco, Aydin most of all. Those wonderful people in our lives who lift us up and encourage us to become more than we thought we were, those are the people who should always be treasured in life.

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