It's the glorious end of a long, sometimes painful work week, but you know what, in the end it was great. I've come to some realizations. Most importantly that I'm not an army. Nor do I want to be an army- unless it's an army that only does battle with chocolate raspberry cake...
Anyhow... okay yes I continue on with this thought before I lose it once and for all. So, I think to myself, "just do it Holly. Just do it. Just re-adjust the kaleidoscope and let things fall into place as they tend to do if you just leave things alone and stay positive. With this in mind, it was an awesome week and I learned a lot. To boot, the weather has been fabulous. I'm almost thinking I could get in some lanai sun-soaking tomorrow (this) morning. A morning that is fast descending upon me right now in fact. I mustn't dawdle anymore. Let's get to the juice of this blog post- which wassssss....... I know I wanted to bring up Morocco- which came into my mind as I was ready to delve into my new research project. Shhhhh, but it's on a little-known (if any) archaeological site in the Cappadocia region. I'm not sure exactly as it might even be closer to Aksaray than Göreme. So this, of course, reminded me of Morocco 11 years ago...
I remember when I was on the ferry from Algeciras- at the tip of Spain and right next to Gibraltar. I had just started my journey a week before as I landed in Madrid. Hawaii to Madrid is a shock (although not as shocking as Hawaii to Antarctica I'm sure), and after a week I was freaking out and needed some open space- wanting to just have my mind blown. It was my first trip into Africa and it certainly set the pace for me- concerning the Maghreb countries anyway. The whole thing blew my mind.
My initial destination was Tangier- the main port city (I believe). I had no other plan beyond that. So on the ferry I decided I should meet up with some travelers. Immediately our motley crew was formed. Christian, the German med student/martial arts dude, was talking to ? from LA. She was moving to Fez to attend university and study Arabic language translation. Yo (real name) Kwan and I somehow drifted together and I believe we all met waiting for a taxi outside the port. So Yo Kwan's story: he was this Korean-American drag queen from.... Anyway somewhere in America. He was currently living in Paris studying to be a mime (I shit you not. S/he's prolly reading this right now in fact. I hope so!) We do correspond every once in a while. Prolly last time was finding each other on Facebook (haha what a cliche). Anyway, a fashion designer in London now I believe. Christian I sometimes Skype with. The last time must have been when I was living in Tunisia... I'm not sure. He is a (flying) doctor and was in east Africa for a few years out in the bush. He was headed back to Germany last I heard. Sometimes I see his Skype light on. I'm going to chat him up next light-up and see what he's been up to. LA girl I never heard from again. Never say never...
So we all made a plan (LA girl's plan actually so we all hitchhiked onto her plan): Hurrah, we're all going to Fez to see LA girl off to grad school. Since the port was far from the bus station we all shared the taxi and that is how HERstory is made...
The train was long and slow- just how I like it. There is so much to trip out on just sitting down and watching the scenery dance by. The different sounds, the passengers walking by. The weird scam artist dude that came into our little cabana thingy and was showing us pictures of da kine and asking us if we wanted to get off at Agadir instead and he could show us around. He had the dark glasses on and everything- like a serious photo album. Anyway, I immediately thought to myself undercover police trying to kidnap/ransom us. No, I didn't really think that, but it sounds good to read- doesn't it?
So, we avoided 'him' the rest of the journey. He must have found some other starry-eyed travelers to scam oregano on them.
We got to Fez and yep- my mind was blown. The central outside area of the Medina. The people walking, biking, crawling all over. The smoke from the meat cooking, the orange juice sellers. Oh my goodness- THE ORANGE JUICE SELLERS! Dream city. We somehow managed to find our way through the haphazard kaos that was vibrant life teeming around us. It was so thick, the life, that it just dripped all over us.
We, I guess, were led into the Medina maze and found a hostel.
NOTE: break in story here. I really hope I'm not lazy and actually break from this typing and get my external hard drive and retreive the scans of those pictures and post them here. Make sure to give me total hell if you don't see any pictures near the end of this- okay?
So this place was amazing (my budget was definitely NOT amazing). I remember in the taxi in Tangier we stopped at a bank on the road to get some cash from the ATM. Now I believe this was the first time that I relied on a bank card to get cash out of foreign countries (haha). I was thrilled that it actually worked. What liberation for a traveler let me tell you. MAJOR.
NOTE: Fireworks are going off right now. Typical Gaziantep evening. Random. (not sure why I said that)
So, We had a 3-bed dormroom. We relaxed. Showered. Oh, the shower. So this was the first, and only, time that I took a shower where the shower was also the place that you shit. So you make damn sure that both your feet have even displacement on the foot stands above the water line with the large hole in it below... Yoga came in REALLY handy for that one. Honestly, the only worse bathrooms that I have ever seen was in Marseilles- which is my favorite city in France. I just adore the grittiness of it.
But, as always, I digress. Back to Marrekesh. Oh wait, what happened to Fez. I didn't finish with Fez. We were there a few days and saw amazing shit, then went further south- down into the edge of the Sahara Desert. Christian had a hankering to get to Merzouga. I don't know what it's like now, but 11 years ago it blew my mind. Yes it's true. We did it up right. Saw a village wedding. Danced at a village wedding. Yo Kwan got to hang out with me in the girls area of the wedding. There was singing and dancing. No other foreigners. The medina was cool there. Going out at night and eating was mind-blowing. Going into the medina and buying kohl eyeliner with Yo Kwan was amazing. He bought this cool Tuareg Berber kaftan thing. It was royal blue with gold piping. It was regal. We got hennaed. We got lost in the medina and had amazing adventures.
We went into the desert interior with the guys from the hostel we were staying at. There was this Lawrence of Arabia guy that was a flying doctor and was going into Algeria to do surgery for a few days. He took us around in his safari jeep and so was Lawrence. Everything from stopping at the wells at various areas in the road- which wasn't a road but open hardpan landscape. There was even a scorpion under a rock next to the ladel that was there always for weary travelers to wet their lips when they, inevitably, ran outta water... And then the 5 star hotel he took us to and we drank really expensive beers- that he bought. He was ready for an audience and we were captive listeners. He gladly bought our rounds. Then there was the trek into the desert for the moonrise. I'm talking camels and all. We walked and I remember bartering my Swatch Watch for some cool fabric from our new Berber friends.
So... after all the fun. One morning I woke up to screams. Ali came running to my door shouting that New York City was on fire. Yes folks, here is where this story takes a turn. I was on the Algerian/Moroccan border camping out underneath the stars at some Tuareg Berber stronghold at the edge of the desert when 911 happened.
Anyway, all surreal. I'm still here to type about it. Let's continue on to Marrekesh. Honestly, Marrekesh was last on my list of places that I liked in Morocco, but what does that really mean? I loved every minute of it.
NOTE: just had a balcony break. Gaziantep sleeps and I'm observing. The new age-y minarets in the distance that have their neon green lights banded around them- well the lights are off, but I always love it when the lights are on. It looks so space-agey. But it was a good break because I remember the reason for this blog. There is this little shop deep in the Çarşı downtown G-tep, and they sell clove cigarettes- real clove cigarettes. Apparently, as the story goes, there is this little old man in an otherwise empty store. He is sitting on a stool. When my friend inquired about where this place is that sells the cloves, he said, "right here" and lifted up the fabric and underneath the stool was 1 box of cigarettes. You couldn't buy just a pack. You had to buy the entire 10-pack. So my friend did. Anyway, I don't really ever smoke cloves, but I remember I did when I was traveling through Morocco. So that is the mystery folks. Solved.
Back to Morocco... I think I'm done here actually.
I did check the hard drive, and couldn't find the pictures, BUT I will leave you with some random photos from a series that is 'ARCHAEOLOGY CHICKS THAT ROCK" (I just made that up actually). This also has a subcategory of our fans (actually just friends outside the profession that somehow enjoyed our company). I realize that is a stretch to think we were some kinda wild women (wink), but look at the facts people: we lived the man's world. We rocked the construction sites. It was like being inside a commnando game and we were the mistresses of corporal punishment. Total Swiss Family Robinson syndrome. This includes all ex-boyfriends and other highlights that are now family and have to love me even though I post weird stories about them, Simone... But anyway... enjoy
|Rochelle le Belle and Lil'D: both archaeology chicks that rock. We rocked it a lot at their south side pad up in Maui Meadows. Miss dem gargoyles long time.|