A Travellerspoint blog

This is Africa

Highs and lows in Morocco from humbling hospitailty to death threats.

sunny 20 °C
View Kiwi' don't fly on djrkidd's travel map.

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Having caught the bus from Seville to Algeciras and then the Ferry to Tangier I walked down the gang plank two hours late but in high spirits only to be met by a customs officer who sent my newly acquired English mate Christian and I back onto the boat to get our entry visa. Not surprisingly, there were the four other English speakers that I had met on the crossing also waiting, not having understood the French, Spanish and Arabic instructions to get our stamps on board.

This was all a good laugh until the passengers heading back to Spain had all boarded and the doors were shut. After much confusion, being led around the boat about three times, we finally got our visa and were kicked out via the car entrance in the middle of the port and made to walk to the terminal.

From here a nice taxi driver sorted the six of us out with a ride to where we were going, this involved four in the back seat and the American student and I sharing the front seat. As we approached the police check point I turned to the driver and asked if this was okay, picturing my first night on the dark continent being in a prison cell. He simply smiled at me and said "Of course my friend this is Africa" then simply drove around the car in front which was being searched by the police, and drove straight through the check point without even a look of bother.

So, being locked out of my hostel, but sitting in a cafe drinking mint tea and chatting with the cafe owner, I learn that there is going to be transport strikes throughout the country, with no taxis or buses and only limited trains starting the next day. Having to meet Karolina in Casablanca I thought it best to get there right away.

***
I took a seat, escaping from the chaos of the crowded bus station, full of yelling people, revving engines and the smell of diesel fumes. I felt a cold damp feeling creep through my jeans. The seat was soaking wet with what I could only hope to be water. As luck would have it in this land of contrast, they actually had allocated seating, so I was promptly moved to my seat at the back of the bus. I sat next to an old man in his Caftan and two big old ladies in their traditional gab with green lines tattooed from their lower lip to their chin.

A few hours into the trip I woke up to be offered half of an orange that the lady beside me was eating, I accepted gratefully. Later on I came out of my doze and again she gave me half of her egg sandwich, which I tried to turn down but it turned out I didn’t have a choice in the matter. My new best friend then went on to offer me half of her loaf of bread which I managed to decline only for her to reply in sign language that I was much too thin in her eyes.

***
Casablanca, or Casa as it is commonly referred to, is the commercial city of Morocco. You can, in the space of minutes, be walking around the ancient Medina hassled by locals, to walking down pedestrian streets that could easily be in any major city around the world. I befriended a Canadian guy called Corey who was studying in France and spoke fluent French, a handy skill to have as French is Morocco’s second language. It had occurred to me that Corey was never keen to walk into the Medina at night and I couldn't work out why. The next morning we decided to go do a little shopping, within seconds of walking into the Medina a local guy came up to us and shook our hands (very standard stuff ) until he held me in an arm lock while he turned to shake Corey’s hand. Instinctively I broke free and kept on walking but this guy continued to follow as and kept on touching me. Corey calmly spoke French to him while I got more and more stern. Then all of a sudden he stood in front of me looking me in the eyes all the time reaching into his back pocket hissing through his teeth
"I'm going to kill you, I'm going to kill you"
To which I replied in full Kiwi drawl
" Mate! you can piss off!"
After a few more unprintable expletives he went away yelling in French "I really need a cigarette"
Five minutes later while sitting at a cafe having a coffee another guy walks passed saying
"Hello how are you?"
"Good, how are you?" I replied
"F##K You, You go to hell" he yells in reply.
Corey and I giggle “nice people around here aren't they"

I just can't believe this place one minute people are so welcoming and then the next they make you want to get on the next plane home.

Posted by djrkidd 03:18 Archived in Morocco

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Comments

Pretty exciting stuff, great blog!!

by abesworld

hi dad its mandy lol thats funny hope ur havin a good time luv mandy xxxxxxxxx

by eliteone

Hey David, I am sure that it will be a big surprise to you, and no doubt an embarrasment, to find out what a dickhead uncle you have got. Oh, you knew that aleady did you [someone has been talking have they?] Every few days I have been logging onto your page and wondering why nothing had been added. I was getting worried. I even added something myself [on your entry page] but then got no response. I have just realised that on the right hand side is a progressive case study of your trip, and I need to click on to those to get your "latest" and that is where I should be adding my comments. When I thought you had become lost I drank the Bondi Blondes but I will now go and get some more for when you arrive. We started with 7 kangaroos on the haka but 2 were hopeless and so we are now down to 4. Good luck

by Uncle Dunc

Hi David, you sound like a very fine young man. In our day all we were allowed to do was get a job,get married and have at least 2 children - in that order! What a fabulous adventure you are having - make sure you take good care of yourself and watch out for the older woman - sometimes they are just wicked - a fate worse than death! Aunty Maxine

by A. Maxine

Hi Maxine
What are you saying being a professional traveler is not a real job?? haha. As for married and kids I would like to refer to the best movie to come out of Australia, the Castle.....
"You're dreaming!"
Although I am sure that Uncle Dunc will disagree say it is that Queen of the Desert one.
However having read a few more of my comments apparently I am a Dad and didn't even know.

Righty keep in touch and I will take that older woman advice on board

Dave

by djrkidd

Look Duncan, you are going to have to take it easy on your comments mate, a woman just came over and asked of I was alright as tears were streaming down my face while I am trying to suppress belly laughter yes belly laughter the worst kind to have in a crowed Internet cafe on the main street of Barcelona.

I'm glad you have worked it out now though. Although I thought you would have had more computer literacy than that. As I do believe you were the guy who kept sending back my mother stamped sized faxes saying that's how they were coming through after you had reduced them on the photo copier 10 times.

I've just realised that most of the middle east is dry so I'll be hanging out for those beers when I turn up on your door step with a back pack full of dirty washing.
Right you better get Skippy and the crew on double shifts I want a good Haka. Mind you still six and a half months to go.

D.

by djrkidd

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