Back in the Kingdom: Returning to Maroc

So after some mishaps in transportation to the airport, I managed to make it out of France and back to Morocco (oddly, no questions asked about my new passport!)

My unintended yet remarkably comfortable sleeping spot in the Aix-en-Provence train station (normally closed at night, so I had the place to myself!)

My unintended yet remarkably comfortable sleeping spot in the Aix-en-Provence train station (normally closed at night, so I had the place to myself!)

So far, I’m not nearly as anxious as I thought I might have been. Though, I’ve yet to make the transition to Rabat, where I’ll actually be living and working. Continue reading

In the French Alps: le deuxième workaway

Oh man, I have been dying to write this post. But I’ve been too busy enjoying myself to sit down on my computer and do it! And honestly, I tend to only write when I’m confronted with extremely challenging things that I need to deconstruct a bit. And there’s finally been none of that! But the absence is worth noting… Continue reading

Moving on: breaking up with the hammam (and thinking about France!)

Bssaha. To your health. Or, more accurately, thank god you bathed. 

It’s a common expression, used not only to “cheers” you and your renewed sense of self-worth, but largely to acknowledge all things new; clothes, meals, haircuts, baths…

Which is to say that it’s about time I talk again about the hammam. Continue reading

In the interim: the summer in Morocco

Wow. So yesterday I wrote this whole post about how I was feeling so incredibly lost, and now this morning I woke up and felt so incredibly found. I knew it sounds so cliche, but it really feels like I wasn’t the one doing the work; like something just clicked and it had nothing to do with me.

I’m back in Asilah, for what, the fourth time? Nothing felt any different when I arrived last night, but this morning I went out to buy bread, and as I’m walking down this quiet tree-lined street, I lean down to pet this cat. And while it may not be an Essaouira cat, it was still pretty cute, and miles ahead of any el jadida cat (they’re the worst). But it was somehow at that moment that I realized that this is where I’m meant to be. I feel like I’m writing something out of EatPrayLove right now, harnessing my inner Liz Gilbert, but it’s true. I just walked around with this stupid grin on my face, falling in love with this town, and now I’m just hoping I can figure out some way to make this all work.

Cause here’s the deal: I had two interviews. And I got two jobs! Continue reading

Aside

In the street: my two golden rules.

Okay, one thing I can start with are the two rules I live by these days.

The backstory: my first night in Morocco involved a hugely overpriced taxi ride, an extremely persistant tout, and a good, yet also terribly overpriced meal. Welcome to Tangier.

The next day, I tried to put my game face on, and show that medina who was boss. Obviously, it still won. I got lost countless times, wound up eating at that same overpriced restaurant (this time with about 6 other travellers in tow), and let myself get dragged into my first carpet-shop, to have tea, and try to politely weasel my way back out. Oh, and did I mention warding off just about every breathing male in the city?

Enter, my golden rules.

Rule  #1: don’t make eye contact.

Rule #2: if you happen to make eye contact, don’t you dare do it again!

Failing rules 1 and 2, you have two options: first, you can just say no, and second, you can play along. It’s only recently, though, that I’ve begun to consider the latter as an option. I’m not sure if it’s from being in the South (I find people a lot more genuinely friendly here than most other parts of Morocco) or if it’s because I’ve finally just grown some thicker skin, adapted to my surroundings, and fallen into place with the way things work.

My Arabic and French have also slowly picked up to where I can at least win the respect of most shopkeepers, etc., and with the guys on the street, I can keep it in good spirits by making a bit of a joke of it. Sure, they’re sometimes really rude, but I don’t have to let it bother me! Easier to say in the day than at night though, that’s still for sure.

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On the web: hello, world!

I’m struggling to compile my thoughts on nearly 11 weeks in Morocco, all into a handful of posts. How to condense such an experience into a few little notes?

I’m in Dakhla now, the last stop before crossing the border into Mauritania. I have heard that it’s something to be prepared for: more basic than I can maybe imagine. The food, the accommodation (sleeping on the floor isn’t my favourite thing to do – these hips have feelings, too!)… the poverty.

I think some of my past travel experience has partially prepared me for this, but a part of me is worried that maybe not, and maybe I will not be able to hack it. So, the thought of “oh, I can just stay in Dakhla a little longer, so I can set up my blog” was so convenient. Now I’m feeling like I should stop with the self doubt and just get on with it!

I think, too, that the results of a google search for “how to start a travel blog” gave me the idea that it could maybe, you know, be something, but in reality, that’s probably never gonna happen. So for now, those of you that read this will just have to bear with me and the random order that my thoughts will spill out 🙂

Oh, and also, I think I have grown more accustomed to using my phone than a computer! I sat in that Internet cafe all damn day and barely accomplished a thing! Now, 5 minutes with the trusty iphone and I’m rolling. I love it.

And finally, a few pictures of Dakhla! It’s a peninsula in the far south of Western Sahara (a disputed territory of Morocco, but which is still Moroccan controlled). It’s a famous spot for wind and kite surfing, which means, as you can guess, that it is more than a little breezy here! Temps are high enough to keep me warm enough though – a welcome change from many other parts of Morocco right now!

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Sunset from the western coast of Dakhla

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The port in Dakhla (but, shh, I wasn’t supposed to take pictures!)

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Sunset from the Eastern coast and city centre

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Suburban streets