January 17, 2011 § Leave a comment
I’m back in Morocco, after a 2 week interim from regular posting while my family visited and we went to Spain. I indulged myself in seeing my family but because I’ve got to return to school this afternoon, I don’t have time to upload any pictures, but they’re on the way.
As I hugged my aunt goodbye in the Madrid airport she advised me to buy a first class ticket on the train for my journey back to Kenitra from Tangier. She said it with a bit of hope, but we both knew that I wouldn’t take the advice. When my plane arrived in Tangier, I headed straight to a cab driver, and haggled a price to the bus depot. He initially suggested the CTM, the more reliable and slightly pricier charter bus company. I think he was surprised when I insisted on the local bus service and happily took my offered price. I got to the station and marched right over to buy a ticket from a plain-clothed man with a wad of cash. I paid to use the hole-in-the-ground toilet, and I bought myself some harsha for the road. I went back to the bus, whose rear door didn’t close, and slipped the attendant a 10dh coin to make sure my bag was taken care of. After a few moments of scuffling through a crowded aisle of vendors with trays piled high of snacks and old men selling miracle pills, I took a window seat and slouched into the well worn seat near the back. Though I was the only foreigner on the bus, though my seat was stuck in a half-laying half-upright position, and though I was sure our bus couldn’t top 80km/hour, I felt strangely at ease for the 3 hour ride. As I unlocked my apartment door in Kenitra after a second taxi ride, I couldn’t help thinking about the last time I hugged most of those same people goodbye, back in September, and the stark difference in my journey to my temporary residence. That first day -the Casablanca airport, a stuffy train ride, stepping into Rabat, and dragging my suitcase into the medina- is a memory that can never be duplicated. I can remember, among scrambled sentiments of loneliness, nervousness, and anomalousness, the wondrous realization that this country is completely out of my comfort zone, yet the flow feels completely normal at the same time. Of course some of those feelings never fully go away but the ease in my re-entry to the country yesterday indicated bits of progress. My Part I of getting situated, starting studying, and beginning to learn the language, has ended. Here, at the beginning of Part II, I can predict only that I cannot predict how the next 5 and a half months will play out. But I do know that my research project will be central.
Pictures and stories from Marrakech/Sahara/Fes/Spain to come. I’m exhausted and I have plenty of catch-up reading to do for class.