Friday, July 17, 2009

Greatest Hits, Vol. 1

I set out before to transcribe, word for word, my diary that I kept in Morocco onto this blog. However, you can't imagine how boring that is. Therefore, I will post some tasty selections and quotes for you, distinguished reader.

I present, the Best Of Collection, vol. 1:

"Thought: I would love to be an old Spanish man. Clothed in a loose white collared shirt and bright slacks, I would laze the day away, letting the Spanish sun bake my already bronzed leather skin. Maybe I'll split my time between Spain and Bavaria, trading my slacks for a lederhosen and my rioja for Augustiner."

"When I first entered the ferry [to Tangiers], I must have entered into the ladies section, because I was greeted with one of the most disorienting sights yet experienced: A graceful ocean of color. Each of the dozens of women were clothed in brightly colored headdresses, and the resulting rainbow stopped me in my tracks and made me smile."

"June 4, 7:30am. Just woke up on the train [the Marrakesh Express overnight train from Tangiers to Marrakesh]. I slept okay. Surprisingly chilly. Spend most of the night chatting with my bunkmates who were three young Moroccans, all involved in the tourist industry and speaking great English. We talk about American culture, Green Day, Desperate Housewives, etc. I learn a bit more about Islamic culture and traditions. We share bread and yogurt drinks."

" 'George Bush is the mafia!'-- said by a 15 year old boy in Marrakesh."

"Marrakesh is filled with thousands of shoplets selling everything from yogurt, bread, copper, fish, chicken organs, spices, pet birds, hookahs, leather shoes, tea sets, carpets, 'natural medicines', and jewelry. Almost seems exclusively geared towards tourists, yet the streets are not filled with them. The city is a giant social network, where everybody seems to know everybody else. I was sitting in a cafe, chatting to a local man clothed in a magnificent blue cloak, only to run into him hours later at his own souk! A handshake, a "salaam aleikum" and we were temporary old friends."

"June 4, 20:40pm. The city suddenly echos with voices from all corners. The muezzin- the call to prayer. It started in the east, and slowly spread from mosque to mosque until at least five voices were calling over the loudspeakers. Slightly horrifying but at the same time it was so special that it could almost be comforting. Everybody in the city recognized and listened. It was communal."

"June 5, 12:09 pm. Currently walking through the Ville Nouvelle, a veritable oasis in this desert heat. Well, that's the romantic vision of it. Truly it is a bit foreign in this foreign land. The streets are maintained... and paved for that matter, the sidewalks of hardy construction, and political leaflets are nowhere to be found.
I just saw a fully veiled woman lift the flap over her face to pick her nose. That was special."

"With a moment to relax, here are some of my first impressions: I am shocked by the beauty of the flora and the women. It can be said that in the harshest climates can be found some of nature's greatest beauties. Cabernet Sauvignon for example. Even Assam teas. Harsh climate, complex and robust constitution...
As for my general experience with the people, it has been overwhelmingly positive. Hospitality is ingrained in the culture. The flip side is that it is uncomfortable and foreign for a Westerner, as far as the assertiveness, aggression, and dare I say, the deception of the merchants. They call, beckon, mock, shout, grab, and insult just to get your attention. I had one owner insist that I hated Moroccans because I did not go to his stall. The bastard. Don't pull that shit. When I walked away, laughing somewhat mockingly at him, he said in English "this is bullshit." He couldn't be more correct."

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