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Published: October 21st 2018
There was definitely something wrong with the coffee I drank at an unfamiliar cafe today. I’m pretty certain it was the milk. Minutes after I finished it, my stomach started to grumble and my upper intestines cramped up with a vengeance. Ooo ya. This was definitely an urgent situation. knew I had a very limited amount of time to get home and to the toilet; but staying in control of my revolting bowels for the 15 minutes it took to walk back to Yassine’s apartment was imperative. It was a painful battle that neared defeat on my side.
Almost immediately after I stepped out of the bathroom door I was informed that everyone was getting ready to go out for supper. Oh boy, I thought, with the battle won, the war continues. Staying home and near to the toilet would have been incredibly rude and I would have met a wall of insistence.
Currently I am sitting’ parked in Aziz’s car, still cramped up and living dangerously; but in good spirits in spite of this. I’m looking out the window at a small village between the city of Agadir and Tiznit. Yassine had heard that this was the right place to find excellent tagine, so he and Aziz are on foot checking out the scene for us. What the name of this place is, I have no idea; but it is the real deal. It is mostly Berber people who are the native people of the South, and who speak an entirely different language. Hassan commented moments ago that he can’t understand a word of what they are saying. This town is insane! I love it! It’s a giant mess of people, cars, trucks and bikes moving in every direction in a completely disorderly fashion. There are chickens and pigeons and people stop their cars in random places. A dude stopped in the intersection in front of us and got out of his car. What?! Yet no one else raised an eyebrow. It seems that everybody knows everybody. Town folk stop to chat with people they recognize in the street. There is also a heck of a lot of smiling going on. The citizens of this town are totally unaware of the disaster zone they going about their daily business in.
My favourite part? The Berber women in their traditional dress: one, long piece of hand-dyed fabric wrapped around them from their ankles to the top of their heads. The fabric is brightly coloured and what we call “tie-dyed”. They look absolutely vibrant and beautiful with their dark complexions; each woman looking completely unique because no two pieces of fabric are the same.
Ok, the verdict is in. We are not going to chance the food here. I am incredibly happy I got the chance to sit in the middle of the action in this place, but I am also relieved that we will not be eating any iffy chicken. Things don’t look particularly clean based upon my observations of the businesses surrounding us - especially the butcher shop to our left. As a side note, if you expect anything to be completely sanitary in Africa, you will be disappointed; except perhaps if you stayed in a super fancy resort (in which case we would have nothing in common). After the milk incidence and the Imodium I had to take earlier to survive the rest of the day, I’d rather not take the risk of ingesting any more microbes that my North American system does not have a defence against.
Onward we go in search of a worthy tagine. Goodbye you crazy, awesome village! The encounter was brief, but the experience completely brightened my day.
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