why you probably shouldn’t throw out your travel meds before leaving the country

June 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

An invitation to bake traditional Moroccan cookies with the mom of a friend of the brother of a friend is a florescent-glowing lure in my murky search for ways to pass time. By now, I’ve fallen down enough friend-of-a-friend rabbit holes to know that one should be prepared for everything, and nothing. Nonetheless, last Friday I was ratted out of both a baking lesson ( which turned into taking a nap at a toothless woman’s one room apartment then allowing her to give me a tour of the Rabat beach) and a dance lesson. Breathing in a whiff of what will possibly be my last spontaneous getaway, I threw my towel, passport, and toothbrush in a bag and headed South. I mean, Saskia and I headed to the train station. By the time we found seats I knew that a persisting stomach ache wasn’t happy about such an unpremeditated trip- nor was it too happy about the 3-day-old Indian chili I had eaten for lunch. It’s one thing when movies show people dangle their bodies out a moving train’s door, briefcase raised in a credits-rolling farewell. It’s quite another to perform the same concept, but spawned by the need to vomit. I emptied my guts as 4 Moroccan men kept me from tumbling out. Once safely inside the overly-crowded space between cars, I urged that I was “not done! not done!” a bit too late. The door had been sealed, and a man held my head with an astonishing grip as another burst of stomach acid curled up and made itself at home on the floor. I would have loved to hear what the onlookers were saying, but I spent the rest of the 4-hour train ride wringing the truth out of a plastic bag and pretending not to be the girl that barfed in front of everyone. Long story short, being sick to my stomach made for an uncomfortable night in Marrakech, and an uncomfortable bus ride to and few days in Essaouira. I completely missed the Gnawa music festival, the primary motivation for the voyage. The next day I cautioned myself but was able to enjoy some of the city. The following day I grew cocky and decided I didn’t want to miss out on the country’s best seafood. My stomach rebelled all the way back to Marrakech. Even in the 6pm shade in Marrakech, I felt utterly dismissive of the fact that my ancestors came from a tropical island in the Pacific. With the exception of a short window of acceptable health, my travel partners had to put up with a cranky, smelly, unsightly, sickly, nauseous version of myself. Saskia and Ahmed were kind enough to be talked into catching the last train into Rabat. Somewhere on the train, I awoke and remembered the painting I bought that a quadriplegic man created with his mouth. Then I remembered an artisan box with my name in arabic calligraphy, a gift from Ahmed. Then I remembered that though I was still feeling sick, I’m with friends, going towards more friends. And with these thoughts I remembered, there’s no place like now.

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