October 26th, 2018, one step forward, two steps back.

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October 26th 2018
Published: October 28th 2018
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October 25th, 2018

It rained again when we left Agadir. It rained all over my dream of travelling to the Sahara; and after four days straight of constipation from the lack of raw veggies and eating too much bread, the time came. It couldn’t have happened at the apartment where it’s clean and comfortable. No. It had to happen at the bus depot where it was filthy and the toilet lacked a seat. Thank-you my moody bowels. Thank-you so very much.

How up to date you are with me now. Lucky you.

So, Hassan’s flu and an oncoming storm have stopped us in our tracks. We’ve been told by just about everyone that there isn’t a proper highway along which to travel to the city of Merzouga from Ouarzazate. It is a road that travels through mountains and rock desert before it hits the town that opens directly into the Sahara sands. Morocco has a highway system that rivals those in Europe, just not in that particular area. Under the deluge of rain from the approaching thunderstorm, the mountain pass would be especially dangerous. Hassan is not up for the adventure with the way he is feeling. Me? I’d go if there was a tornado and I had malaria, but it’s my dream, not his.

Due to these current events I am writing to you from my favourite cafe in Hassan’s hometown: Anys Corner Cafe. As disappointing as the defeat of my Saharan ambitions are, I am feeling peaceful in the moment. It is impossible to know what the future holds in five minutes from now, let alone one or two years, but insha’Allah, there will be another opportunity for me to travel that road in the future. This time it was not meant to be.

When Hassan and I arrived at his mom’s house last night we were pleasantly surprised to find out that she had made us a tagine of beef with peas, sweet potato, potato, squash, onion and tomato. She put the tagine on in the morning to slow cook all day. Wow. This was the first time I had ever eaten Haja’s cooking and that tagine was the best I have ever had. I kid you not. Whenever we visit Morocco Hassan hires his cousin Baeia, who comes from the nearby, small town of Bousnika to do the cooking and housekeeping (because there are usually more family members visiting at the same time). Hassan’s mom has weak legs and doesn’t get around the house easily anymore. Having her cook for us was really special. When we finished, Hassan cleared the table and I did the dishes.

Because it was only the three of us in the house (also a first time experience for me), it was very peaceful. I showed Haja our purchases from the market in Agadir and she guessed how much we paid for each.

After tea, Hassan and I went to sleep upstairs where we have a bathroom of our own. I had the best sleep I’ve had this entire trip. I woke up in exactly the same position I fell asleep in. Man do I ever feel refreshed.

Hassan and I will stay here in Benslimane for a few days and wait for the storm to pass. It is going to hit every part of Morocco this weekend, except for the Sahara (sigh). After that we head to the city of Fez. Fez is a very old city in the heart of the country. It is a fine alternative to the Sahara. My love for the traditional and of all things artisanal will be indulged there. Fez is where the fine metal working is done in the making of embossed teapots, trays and an abundance of other things; where Morocco’s magnificent leather is produced; and where for more than a thousand years, tile makers have made and hand cut the tiny Islamic mosaic tiles that Morocco and the entire Muslim world are famous for. They still make them exactly the same way, the skill having been passed down from father to son.

Sbah lkhir...


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