I even like writing ‘October’. Its probably my favorite month. Just coming off the warmth of summer, hasnt quite yet turned the corner into winter. Its just maybe a bit crisp. A light jacket, jeans.
This October has brought me Morocco during Ramadan. its been a really cool tour through & blessed the whole time. From Tanger an overnight train straight into the heart of the country – Marrakech. The most heavliy travelled spot and also one of the most intriguing. this was my 1st experience of Ramadan. The people fasting from sunrise to sunup. No eating, no drinking, no sex, no smoking. They’re not even supposed to look at women during the day. Its an interesting phenomenon with people handling it in different ways. ALot get exremely irratable, but many are cool about it and act quite normal. The interesting thing is that at sunset, anything goes. And everyone easts as soon as the sun departs. In fact, there is a huge buzz in the air right before sundown where the streets get packed with pople and the excitement builds as people buy fruits cakes, and other foods for ‘breakfast’.
Alot of people have joked that since they can eat from about 6-4am that is exactly what they do. Alot of people also smoke hashish, so the fact that they can´t toke up throughout the day causes some irritation.
I had friend in Marrakech this time around who took me to their homes at sunset to break the fast with them. The one time back at Khalids house, his brother had just come in from Casa and we got to catch up – his older brother and I had some adventures in Casablanca the last time sprinting across highways and jumping fences ‘COPS’ sytle to go rescue 2 British birds that got caught up with the wrong people on their way back to his house one night. Overall , Marrakech is an assault on the senses and it was good to get out after a few days. Actually, that is an understatement.. I actually couldnt stand the loudspeakers blaring ALLAH AKBAR at 200 decibals over and over. Wailing Muslims screaming for prayer. Get me out. That part is supremely annoying.
We headed east on a public bus to Essaoura, a surf town made famous by people like Jimi Hendrix and Oscar Wilde living there back in the day. I think the town had grown up a bit since then and while it was ok, it wasn´t the majorly chill spot that was neccessary.
Spent a night there then headed out on another bus to a beach called Sidi Kaoki, which was supposd to be some sweet surf spot. These public buses are a trip. I can’t even fit in the seats so I had to sort of put one leg out in the isle and the other inside. I guess is good in a way because being the only western people on the bus you get to see the reality of life here. The bus stopping over and over for people on the side of the road, walking out to the road from the rocky ground that extended distances in all directions from the road. We probably looked pretty strange to them wearing cargo pants, boots, and t-shirts while they were all dressed up in Lord of the Rings cloaks. The coolest thing is that all their cloaks/robes have pointed hoods. Jus thinking of the contrast wonderin what I would think if I was on a bus in American and someone walked in with a thick, natrual fiber cloak with a pointy hood.
Anyway, Kaoki was a one-horse town, actually it was just one old bloke on a donkey and alot of beach. Pretty tranquil except for the major wind factor. Four or so days there were good.
We decided that following the coast up all the way was the best idea, stopping at beaches along the way. So, I went to Oulidia and stayed at a brand new hotel that was offering a special opening deal. It was French run and extremely nice. The dinner was 3 courses and the chefs were wearing those tall white chefs hats, the waiters all trained in the French manner. It was nice to step into a bit of luxury. The scenerey here was incredibly, huge cliffs with giant waves crashing into them..rolling dunes..Naturally protected swimming areas..
At this point, I´m actually in Mexico, and have no desire to write about Morocco anymore. I can sum up the rest of the trip quickly – from Oulidia I headed up to Casablanca, catching a ride with a rich French lady who let us chill in her garded and hooked us up with wine, olives, omelettes, bread, salad, cheese, and coffee. A few nights in Casa (the economic capital), the onto Rabat – the political capital. Rabat is coming around, getting modern, the women dress with alot more fashion and it feels alot more free. This is due to the new king who took the shackles off the women. After that it was onto Fez, the intellectual and religious capital.
You have to be strong in Africa or you will get run all over. People try to pinch money off you at every transaction, and also give the locals rates that are hugely out of proportion with the rates they charge people with white skin. After passing through the Morocco Fire, alot of timidity is burned up.
I´m onto Me-hi-co. Relaxed air and teal waters. I´ll take it. This last picture is from Fez, on the top terrace of a carpet market.