brief headlines of my beginning days.
16.05.2007 - 17.05.2007 25 °C
I arrived to the airport Mohammed V, very close to Casablanca, at 2 in the afternoon. I felt extremely excited when I stqrted seeing the first people and the first women in veil standing outside waiting for somebody, just like anybody does at an airport.
The clash of feelings overtook me at the airport and the way everything moved and the scent of the people and their gestures and expressions were extremely delightful to follow with the eye.
Imagine at the Casablanca station half an hour later!
I was mainly the only visible tourist at the statio (and it has been like that for me so far) so all eyes were drawn towards me, giving me a slight edge of uncomfortness which made me stand straight and turn my sight strong but still nice.
The train left from Casa to Rabat and I was finally in a situation I had been dreaming for months: sitting totally immerged in a culture I have never really been exposed to, which would make me feel uncomfortable and spill over that jar that contains all those feelings hidden to me, making me discover and shape myself a little more.
There was a loud bang inside my head when I got out of the Rabat Ville station two hours later. People everywhere in the street streets semipaved making the cars leave a flying cloud of dirt after them.
The air thick, filled with smog and those nasty externalities that the cars leave once moving. Hot, and I who was holding two bags was feeling hotter. I hadnt eaten anything from that early morning, and, when finally encouraged by a couple of strong and fine words in my head, I was walking down the street right next to my first sighted Medina, sweating profusely, and not hot but very cold.
The cold sweat was a reminder that I was the only visitor in town (Rabat, the capital that isn't a place where tourist are abbundant), and make me speed up, trying to find my goal for the day: the famous Rabatian Tower, and right after a quick "petit taxi" ride the Kasbah des Odaias, with an amazing panoramic over part of the city, but especially to the coast, where tens of surfers where catching different waves gathered in that bay thanks to the strong winds that this season is always hustled by.
I achieved my goals, and sick of the smog decided to head North a few hours before I had planned it, shooting straight to Asilah.
Arriving at the gare routiere (bus station) after a quick ride from the Kasbah, literally a handful of young Moroccans escorted me to their bus company, where I got my ticket to Asilah.
After this quick sand storm, I was left alone side by side the person who would become a companion over the four-and-a-half hour bus trek to Tanger. I also realised that such placed was not a place for tourist (the people in it all looked modest to me, same goes for the buses), which made me feel very happy of being in such place.
I think only by immerging myself with them will I be able ever to breathe their own air, and understand who they are. In contrast to many actors all around the country, putting up an act for the tourist for a little bit of money.
The talk I had with Rachid, the berber Moroccan man from Sifrou, in the bus was unique and reassuring, and it also opened that very nice side to the country I would have not found otherwise.
He was rehearsing his spanish with me, and I was testing my belongance to the human race with him.
By the gestures and expressions I've seen so far, I can pretty much comfirm what Carl Jung was saying about a collective unconscious in all of us.
The language is not collective though, so it was hard to keep up to that very special version of french and much less to the arabique (whose sound I love and intoxicates me) or the berber (the language of the perennial warriors).
At a stop halfway he invited me to a tea, which gave me time to glance at my guide for late night hostels in Asilah, and served me as a reminder of the costiness of the place.
I decided to proceed to Tanger and sleep there for the night, wake up early, visit the recommended sights and catch the bus to Chefchaouen.
And so I did. Only with a problem that took two hours to solve.
I missed the bus becuase as I was walking up the Medina, a very friendly old man tagged along asking me where I was from. I decided to use my Colombian nationality (which I do most often on this side of the world) while in Morocco, given the fact that there could be no mixed feelings about it, and he began to speak in spanish.
He brought me to scenic sights, which I will put photos of tomorrow, and through the beautiful medina. I was able to see spain from the roof of a very beautiful house he brought me inside and on top of. I was able to see the whole city, just with the naked eye or through the lens of the camera. I thanked him for everything and asked him how I could repay him (meaning I would have liked to give him two dozen dirhams for his help), but finally stopped when I realized what was going on!
I was in a house rug, and very innocently had fallen for the oldest trick in Morocco: show a few sights and guide to the friend's house to pick up a couple of things.
I refused to see anything but still was shown, and was persuaded by one of the best mint teas I've had so far. The price kept going lower with every chat we had, and I had my eyes on this one very special red rug, which I ended up buying after a lenghty negotiation.
It cost me 300 Dirhams and I think it is much more valuable, judging by the beautiful colors and textures of it, made of cashmere from the Kashmir wool.
It is pretty small so I can keep it in my bag, but extended, it makes an amazing souvenir.
Although, I don't really have that mjuch space so I won't be able to be so naive again, otherwise I'll end up with another two handbags.
Once I was escorted out of the Medina, I ran to the CTM bus station (the official tourist and high class company) to find that my bus had departed already, leaving me in Tanger.
I had to find a different way to get to Chefchaouen (four hours away), and I knew just where: le gare routiere!
A note about Tanger: it is a very neat and beautiful city where funds have been poured down by the king and international funding (gateway to both Africa and Europe, relatively to where you stand). The old Tanger is faded and this place feels almost safe -although some travellers might have had very different impressions, given that I just quickly plunged into it.
I played out my plan and finally got to Chefchaouen, again passing from the local station with nobody looking like me. The ride there was quite and nice, and the view was one of the most scenic views I've seen in my life.
There is especially one point that I would have liked to immortalize: a river entering a small lake that reflected the rays from the sun on its choppy surface with beautiful trees of all sizes around it, and the mountains acting as powerful guards to keep such a heavingly place safe for eternity.
I am in Chefchaouen and I wasnt expecting this beautiful a town. The only colors you can see are turqoise and white that toegther make such an astounding couple. I am staying at Hostal ALina now, a beautiful place, with a killer view from the roof. The place is owned by an amazing spanish fellow from granada, who just got married to a moroccan women fifteen days ago. Here I met three australian guys from Canberra, who are very friendly and we went to the local souq and bought a whole cous cous and vegetables meal that was cooked by Simon, a guy that a month ago was in Tanzania and will proceed to Spain.
We talked and shared different stories, and we ate what came out to be a delicious meal (I hadn't eaten anything for the last two days, because I wasn't hungry).
I have been writing this for a while now, because there is a lot to say.
I must mention that it feels really good to be completely by oneself in an extremely different environment, which by chance is smiling at me right now.
I hope you have gotten up until here, I know it's a long email.
I thank you for sharing your time with my experiences, and hope you've enjoyed it -not as much as I, because that is impossible!
Hopefully the next entries will be as long
This has just began, and it promises a lot of good stuff to come.
hope everything is well for you as well,