Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Missing out Morocco

On the seventh month anniversary of my trip, I was on the ferry with a stoned Danish hippie heading towards Morocco.  They are obviously much more relaxed about drugs coming in to Africa as opposed to out, because he made it without a question in sight.  I managed to get rid of him the next day; he was so stoned it was annoying!

This next part is where the title comes in.  I am going to miss it out.  It was a very personal time that is too complicated and hurtful to share here.  It involved a Moroccan man, lots of lies, and probably a marriage visa.  Lesson learned.  It's a shame I wasted those weeks when I could have been exploring the real Morocco.

I did make short trips to some cities though, having one good experience and one more bad.
The latter was with a couchsurfer, a guy who wanted to "comfort me" because of the situation I had been in.  He really wouldn't leave me alone, always trying to hug and kiss me even though I had said no plenty of times.  It was horrible to be in this situation after the last one, I really didn't know how to handle it.

However, not all was bad... the best part is that hitchhiking in Morocco pretty much guarantees you an offer of a place to stay.  One family who I accepted on their offer were going to Fes.  They showed me their olive farm where I helped them pick some for dinner, they even organised a whole family day out to show me the best parts of the city.  Each meal they made was so huge that by the time I had said yes to extras, for politeness, I was already in pain.  They didn't stop eating themselves, so saying no was impossible.  Only the man of the house could speak some English, so for everybody elses sake I hand-actioned my stomach exploding from being so full.  They all burst into tears of laughter then told me they loved me.

It was almost Christmas and if I have to brag, I will say that my Christmas at home with my family is the best one in the world.  After the strange episodes with the two different Moroccan guys I decided that Christmas at home was too much to miss.  I found a cheap flight from Marrakesh setting off in a few days time.

I had been in contact with a guy called Hassan in Marrakesh for a while, so he let me stay with him and his family until my flight.  Now they really were some of the nicest people I've ever known.  They took me to the houses of every single family member they had to "show me off".  They took me to their farm for a day out.  They shared some incredible food with me and in general just treated me like a princess.
The youngest girl of the family, Fatima-Ezara, was so excited to hear that I would be staying with them that she couldn't eat her lunch at school that day.  She held my hand everywhere we went and tried her hardest to remember the English she had learnt so far at school:  "What is the name of your mother?  What is the name of your father?  What is the name of your sister?...."
Shaima was the other girl in the family and was 16 years old.  I was told that she loved her Hijab (headscarf) and had been wearing one for eight years.  I had already asked many people about this subject; wondering why some women wear full Burqa, some only the Hijab, and some nothing covering their hair at all.  In Morocco, one of the most liberal Islamic countries, I was told it is the womens choice. So after meeting Shaima I understood a little more; she was one of the shyest people I've ever known.  I would take a good guess that wearing the Hijab from such a young age was her way of hiding away, and it was accepted as part of her religion and tradition.  People outside of Islam can sometimes think some strange things about this subject, but after meeting Shaima I can say confidently that, for her at least, the Hijab is just the same as a young girl in England, for example, wearing "fashionable" clothes and too much make-up.  It's a mask to hide behind.

I caught my flight home, had a wonderful Christmas with my family and visited most of my friends around the country all in two weeks, before catching my flight back to Marrakesh to continue my trip through Africa.