"Life's pure energy was always in me, as me. My responsibility was merely to acknowledge that." / A Motorcycle Diary from Marrakesh, Morocco:Africa
"There is no use trying," said Alice; "one can't believe impossible things." "I dare say you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." -- Lewis Carroll
Had I come to believe it impossible, to truly be free?
One morning, I woke up with the strangest feeling that I was no longer free. I wasn't sure how it happened, if I had ever been free or for how long I had felt imprisoned. Not that it mattered. One moment was too long, time enough. If I had ever been free I had known it only briefly enough to realize that now, I was not.
Since the day I tore open the envelope that delivered my passport, I carried it with me always. "Just in case," I would say. Just in case I was called to travel across the seas at a second's notice. Just in case I needed to film the location of my travel series’ latest exotic episode. I'm just a dreamer.
On December 20, 2010 I left cozy cul de sac townhouse, TV, radio, BlackBerry, bills, work, Christmas and my kids. I scheduled my re-entry, December 29, 2010.
At the time of this writing, I've been back for six days. Something I can't see lingers with me. Sweeter than jetlag's nauseating sickness, I can't shake the feeling that the collected snapshot picture show I called 'life' as seen from the HOV lane or Jack Horner's cubicle corner is a surrogate, a pixelated facsimile, a cheap exchange for the gluttonous feast that always waits, just outside the limits of comfort and plumb numb.
This is me, raising the stakes. Nine days, three countries. Destination: Marrakech, Morocco.
For many cultures rites of passage are commonplace and are used as a means to mark powerful life events such as: birth, puberty, coming of age, marriage and death. After turning 30 years old in 2010, I experienced an acute desire to mark a monument to my age, not to the number itself –- to the lessons and experiences I call my own. Somewhat of a life review, maybe prompted by the phenomenon known as Saturn return.
A traditional rite of passage is measured in three phases:
•Separation or detachment of the individual from an earlier fixed point in the social structure
•Transition between states; during which one has left one state but has not entered the next
•Consummation of the rite, assumption of a new identity, re-entry into society with a new status
After much deliberation, nail-biting, guilt and fear I decided. I would travel to Marrakech, Morocco -- from Washington D.C. (IAD) by way of Paris, France (CDG). From Paris, I will airport transfer to Málaga, Spain. Once landed, I take the bus from Málaga airport (AGP) to the port city of Algeciras (or nearby Tarifa) cross the Strait of Gibraltar by ferry, arrive in Tangiers then travel by train from Tangiers to Marrakech. I would do this all during the week of Christmas. I would do this alone. This would be my rite of passage.
I spent several weeks researching the trip and ended up with a neat airline itinerary for about $500.00 (USD) (Departure)IAD-CDG-AGP (Return) AGP-CDG-IAD.
For every trip I've taken, there is a plain pale yellow file folder that contains all the tidbits I find relevant to that particular trip -- from the idea, to the completion of the trip I include everything useful or interesting in relation to my destination.
The contents of my 'Marrakech File' looked something like this, but not necessarily in this order:
* Copies of my flight itinerary and confirmation
* Marrakech Fall & Winter Activity Guide 2010-11
* Moroccan Menu Decoder
* Hostelworld city guide for Paris
* Málaga Bus Schedule Departures/Arrivals
* Algeciras/Tarifa/Tangiers Ferry Companies Contact Information
* Hostel Reservation Confirmation (Paris, Málaga and Marrakech)
* Currency Cheat Sheet for Traveler's USD-EUR and USD-MAD
* BBC News: Arabic Phrases Cheat Sheet *INDESPENSIBLE*
* Full color copies of my identification documents (passport, US license, etc.)
* How to pack light, “One Bag Packing Checklist”
When I arrived at Washington D.C.’s Dulles airport, I had been so excited about the trip that it had completely slipped my mind to check the weather and airport conditions for where I was headed first -– Paris, France. I would soon find out that due to an enormous snowstorm all flights to Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG) were cancelled or delayed. My 9:55 pm flight would now leave at 3:45 am the next morning.
Airport delays are cool for one thing, you get to chat it up with fellow travelers and actually meet people you would otherwise have just passed by trying to get to your seat. I met an older lady trying to get back home to Scotland, Ireland a 30-something trying to get to Egypt for his Father’s birthday celebration and a ‘backpacker’ headed to Málaga to meet up with friends for the holidays.
At the top of 3:00 am on December 21st, I boarded my initial flight –- set to arrive in Paris around 6:00 pm local time. This changed my original plan of having 8 hours to explore Paris between connecting flights, no worries. I spent the time at Charles de Gaulle wandering the duty free shops and checking out the Charles de Gaulle TGV station that is in the center of Terminal 2 and connects the airport to Paris central and other outlying areas.
My evening connection from Charles de Gaulle (Paris) to Málaga was supposed to be an unceremonious hop, it ended up being one of the most unnerving experiences of my life. High winds and pelting rain made the landing into Spain, nearly impossible. I could barely hear myself think over the wailing woman in the row behind me, I'm fluent in Spanish -- so I clearly understood her pleas to God for a safe landing -- I bowed my head in silent agreement. Usually I'm pretty good with turbulence, this snap pushed me close to the special plastic bag located conveniently in the seat back in front me. The treacherous weather forced the pilot two passes before landing us safely on the runway. Needless to say, the entire cabin erupted in relieved sighs, cheers and hearty applause when he finally did make a safe touchdown.
Unfortunately, Málaga airport was essentially closed down by the time I made it through border control at a hearty 2:00 am local time. Currency exchange closed, I had changed over only enough USD in Paris to pick up a few books for the kids, and grab something to eat. I figured it smarter not to carry around wads of euro -- no one was interested in pocketing (or accepting) any us paper presidents. Apparently United States currency has its own built-in security.
After arriving at the Melting Pot Hostel in Málaga to find a chalkboard welcome with my name neatly written in near the front door, I would soon find the person inside was not as warm and fuzzy. They weren't even nice.
After exchanging greetings and situating myself in the hostel lobby, I explain to the manager that I hadn't been able to change money at the airport, due to the flight delays and the closed currency exchange and that while I had enough U.S. cash, I didn't have the euro to pay for my bed (EUR12.60 or USD17.29). Without a second thought, he shook his head and told me that I would not be able to stay the night, and there was nothing he could do. I asked if he would hold the U.S. cash equivalent until the morning, when I could walk two blocks to the nearest currency exchange then and return with the equivalent in Euros. No dice. In retrospect, I realized this moment pushed me into the first phase in my rite of passage; standing on the street -- alone, exhausted and afraid I had chosen to detach myself from everything familiar -- and there I was.
More than 3,000 miles from anything I recognized as familiar, where family and friends are always only a phone call away. The adventure of a lifetime had me up to this point. This is where the road kicked my ass and left me holding my suitcases much like a child holds tight to a security blanket. A little girl lost and afraid, not sure what would happen to her next. It was a still life picture feeling of the past 30 years of my life, compacted into a span of moments about 45 minutes long.
Catching my breath to keep from crying, I could feel my face warm up and the tears start to well up in my eyes. It took a few hard heartbeats, but in my true warrior nature I forced myself calm, accepted where I was, stood up straight and marched on. Figuring I could either walk towards aimless until the sun came up, or make it to the local bus station and sleep there until the morning.
The hostel sits on Paseo del Pintor Joaquin Sorolla, which runs parallel to the coastline of southern Spain, affectionately known as the Costa del Sol (the Sun Coast). Side streets to the south of the main paseo all end at the shore. I followed an impulse and detoured for a moment, down a small side street and right on to the edge of where street pavement meets coastal sand. How often would I be standing on the southern coastline of Spain -- a strange time to seize the day, I know but still I did. Would I be able to see the horizon in the dark of the early morning? I knew the sound of the waves crashing meant the sea was there, waiting. Even squinting my eyes, I couldn't see them it was only dark. Street lamps standing watch to my left and right, they were the only light, playful fireflies pushing me on.
How blessed was I to be in Spain anyway, to have come so far!
After a few minutes I decided to head back onto the paseo, and figure something out; how would I make it to the ferry port, almost two hours away? My thoughts screeched to a startled halt, when I heard "Esta todo bien?!" (“Is everything okay?!”)
Enter Osmar, the coolest cabbie this side of the Mediterranean. I explain my U.S. dollar dilemma, and he shrugs it off without a thought. I tell him, I only need to get to the local bus station where I can wait until 6:00 am when it opens and be on my way. He insists that he can't leave me at the bus station, it wouldn't be safe.
He introduces himself formally and tells me he can help. I trust myself enough to trust him, and load myself and my bags in the cab. After a bit of Spanish small talk, we use my currency exchange cheat sheet to figure out how much he would charge me for the ride down to the ferry port and decide on a fair price.
He makes a few phone calls to his friends, trying to find a place that is open at this hour where I can exchange some bills, U.S. for Euro -- first we try a hotel, then an all night bingo house and finally, Torrequebradas Casino. Success! With a pocketful of euro, we made our way down the coastal highway. Two hours and a verbal exchange of our entire personal histories later, Osmar helps me secure a one-way Euroferrys ticket for the next boat out from Algeciras to Tangier MED (EUR35.00). I thank Osmar a million times and in exchange he gives me his business card -- just in case. I watch him drive off, and can't help but think that even after all the rigmarole that this is exactly how it was all supposed to have happened.
The ferry ride is short, 30 minutes or so. My arrival into Africa was not followed by drummers or fanfare, no glimmering sun or bustling marketplace as had been the stuff of my national geographic daydreams. It's still dark, the weather is cold and it's down pouring rain. I disembark -- exhausted and blurry. It is 5:00 am, and at this point I have been awake for almost 24 hours straight. I am still 10 hours from Marrakech.
As I step off the ferry and look around, I realize something is not right -- this doesn't look like the city I had read so much about, Tangiers -- population 700k, metropolis, bursting with development and modernization efforts - it looks like a commercial shipyard. I ask around and find out that I've landed at Tangier MED, a cargo port -- 40km from Tangier and the more commonly known passenger port. Bus service is limited. I have no bus ticket, there is no passenger terminal. Here we go.
I am brave. I see a group of men huddled under the roof a makeshift snack hut and I muster up the courage to ask for a cigarette. At this point my nerves are shot, and I just need a second to pull my straps together. I'm fraying at the seams and I need to adjust my plan -- again.
One of the men offers up a smoke, and says something to his friend in Arabic (I'm sure it was something like, "What is this crazy woman doing here -- AND she smokes! Holy shit!")
Transportation crisis aside, one of the coolest things I learned from my time in northern Africa is that in this part of the world you are met with a stew of languages -- unlike anywhere else. Even being from New York, it was amazing to hear even the smallest children switch mid-conversation between French, Spanish, Arabic and bits of English like a slick series of dance moves they are taught, soon after they take their first steps.
The man and I are able to speak in Spanish enough for him to hail the bus handler, and tell him my situation. I am able to get a standing room seat on the next bus to Casablanca, four hours away (EUR 30.00).
Going on almost 30 hours without sleep and as tired as I was, I still couldn't bring myself to close my eyes. I'm not sure if it was the adrenaline or the sun rising over the Mediterranean Sea as we made our way through border patrol. I was completely awake. Daylight came and I could finally see where I was now, crammed between babies, children, women and men who looked as travel weary as I was. Bags and boxes of clothes, pots and pans, tires, hoses, motorcycle exhaust pipes -- you name it, it was on board. I was taking it all in, listening to mundane conversations made beautiful music by the strangeness of their phonetically blended sounds. Surreal doesn’t begin to describe it.
Stealing a glimpse outside my window seat, my first dazzling minaret views pass painted blue, white and gold, scooters zip through city streets, children walk home from school in wide bright copper colored fields, vivid green brush next to piles of refuse where dogs and donkeys dig for a meal or treat and satellite dishes reach as far as my line of sight affixed neatly on every cinder block, mud-brick house for miles around.
The African coastline would peek through at me from behind the smattering of small buildings, varying shapes and colors crammed together in perfect chaotic assembly like a toddler's greatest building block city creation -- every so often, beautiful blue ocean and tender white waves playing off in the distance whisper to me -- "Now Nira, adventure doesn't seem so scary after all. Does it?" I smile to myself.
Sunbeams broke through the clouds just as the bus crossed into Casablanca. We pulled into the Univers Bus station (the drop off point) I said a few Goodbye's (ila al'likaa') and Thank You's (shukran) jumped bus, grabbed my bag and pulled out my trusty French phrase book. I would use it to ask my way to the train station for the continuing leg of this race.
Easily enough I crossed a busy traffic circle, and found my way to the nearest group of taxi's. “Taxi pour le chemin de fer?” ("Taxi to the railway?") "Yes, yes! No problem." (EUR23.00) Next stop - Marrakech 3.5 hours away, 1st class seated train (MAD90,00/USD$10)
The rocking and swaying of the train car was too much for me to fight. Sleep came quickly. My inflatable traveler's pillow probably still has drool stains for as hard as I fell into it. It was dark when I woke up, tiny amber lights lit up the city skyline. Marrakech was just within view.
The main Marrakech train station was my first introduction to Moroccan hustle and bustle. It has everything you may need, two currency exchange bureaus, a gift/candy/snack shop, a train ticketing information service station, Century 21 realty office (really) and a few other handy pit stops. I walked through the station and stepped out the main entrance ending up in front of the station building - facing Avenue d'France, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the city; it's still raining. I couldn't help but to laugh a small victory chuckle to myself, I FINALLY made it! By train in the rain, by bus, cab, casino, plane I had made it!
Marrakech, Morocco it is nice to finally meet you. Here is where I caught my second wind.
Abdul, the cabbie I hailed at the train station was in such a good mood, despite the traffic and the rain -- he was just the company I needed after such a marathon. I used this as a chance to try more of my Arabic phrase work, and in return he used the chance to practice his English with me!
Abdul welcomed me to Marrakech, spent a few minute throwing shine on his beautiful city and dropped me off to a 'guide' he assured me would take me directly to the Equity Point Hostel where I stayed for the next eight days , we pulled up to one of the arched openings leading into the walled medina.
A word to the wise: for me, it was convenient to have one of these city slick ‘guides’ show me to my hostel. It was dark, pouring rain and almost 11:00 pm at night. I don’t recommend this option -– always try to link up with an official tourism guide. If not, expect to be overcharged. That is all.
Through a labyrinth of maze-like passageways and dark alleys, my guide finds me at the front door of my own Alchemist oasis -- Equity Point Hostel, Marrakech (80 Derb el Hammam; Moussaine). My bed set me back a paltry EUR18,00 per night, breakfast included. Fantastic hidden alcoves, cushioned and draped on every of the four levels, secret stairwells leading to back door terraces, flickering colored candles, silver and copper lanterns perfectly placed, huqqahs burning sweet tobacco, smiles everywhere and friends you've always known and never met along with any traveler creature comfort you could think of; yes, they have it. Room 108. Like a home I had forgotten I had, lovingly welcomed me back.
Chris, the Aussie who now travels the world researching new business trends and ideas and calls London home (for now) was the first of six bunkmates I would meet.
On our first meeting, I confided in him that I had thought about telling people I was from South America, given the generally poor image Americans may have abroad -- his reply set me at complete ease, "D***head Americans don't stay in hostels in Marrakech. You’re good, mate."
Over the next seven days I would meet more precious friends, eat enough Tagine and couscous to be married away for 16,000 camels (that dowry offer really happened-see the picture above, that is my would-be husband), lose myself in burning frankincense, myrrh, jasmine and amber, haggle my way through the wandering souks and come away with enough lanterns, incense, daggers, rainbow colored textiles, magic cedar wooden boxes and bangles, dried apricots and roasted almonds to open my own Moroccan export business.
I would make the acquaintance of Natalia from Poland, the beautiful and mysteriously reserved woman (a fellow wanderer) whose story is so eerily similar to mine that I could swear we were sisters in another life. With a simple reading of hands, my stubby and gnawed fingertips telling more of a story than my voice could -- she shook me completely to my core with a reading, a talk and a hug; I came entirely undone one afternoon at a cafe where we shared lunch. After which, we were nearly inseparable. Her son, personified my own three children and kept my motherhood in constant reminder during my time far away from home.
Mark, from England shared bits of his life with me as we sat under florescent light one night at our favorite open air Djemma el Fna restaurant sharing baguette and Tagine, picking at cured olives and talking shop. I'm in the technology field, he is in social service work -- I realized though, that we face the same tiny wars; both of us working to change the world for good, one person at a time. Hopefully, we helped each other that night, I think we did. Our talks lasted well into the early morning hours.
Chris, from England (who we discovered after playing the country game on Christmas eve has been nearly everywhere on the planet )made it difficult for us to decide where in the world we would meet each other next year, as we came to agree we would do. At the time of this writing and if my memory serves me, the top contenders are the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bali and somewhere in South America.
And I couldn’t go on without mentioning my dearest friend Mr. Ghandi, a gynecologist from Sheffield who tells people he's a psychologist in order to ease the awkwardness of conversations about his profession -- and who has a certain disdain for Americans, had jokes for days. I was a good sport. His most impressive punch was something along the lines of: America received a request from the U.N. asking what they thought should be done of the food shortage in the rest of the world. America’s answer, “What's the rest of the world?"
Over Christmas Eve dinner, and what a dinner! Complete with fire-breather and didgeridoo on rooftop terrace restaurant overlooking Djemma el Fna square, we talk about more immediate travel plans and our planned trek which will take all of us several hours outside of Marrakech city limits, by bus and camel to the Sahara Desert where we would spend Christmas night in a traditional Berber village. We leave Marrakech at 7 am the next morning.
13 hours worth of driving, a broken tour bus and 15 camels later we are in Zagora, Morocco a town in the valley of the Draa River just a short distance from the Algerian border sharing what has to be the single most captivating glimpse of the milky way in the night sky that any human could imagine possible. Out of nervous delight, or complete disbelief I find myself laughing out loud. Not believing that I am where I see myself right now. It is Christmas night, and like one of the Three Kings I am leading a caravan of camels out into the middle of the Sahara Desert following the path of a brightly lit star. Me. un.be.lievable.
I'm sailing through my view of the sky, stars shooting overhead every few minutes, and the moon is just rising over the distant mountain range as we settle in around the camp fire. Berber men beat drums and sing to us about life in the desert.
This is where I mark the transition between states, the trance-like meditation that crosses dimensions and meshes the tiny machine world with the more subtle place between your foot and the ground. I sat there for a while, watching the fire dance. Being present. Looking around as the fire lit everyone's face in bursts of magic. In that moment, I was forever. Even thinking about it now, far removed from the desert floor now sitting in an office chair poised in front of my laptop -- I can still hear the quiet murmuring of my trekmates conversations around the fire, I can feel the ice cold sand beneath me and I can distinctly remember trying with great effort to hold on to that night, with as much success as a person would hold onto a star or a comet.
After everyone else had given up to their tents, and to sleep; only three of us remained. Matthieu from Marseille, Natalia and me. Matthieu fashioned himself a bed out of our dinner tables and about 15 blankets. He would sleep under the 'magic of the moon' that night. His French and my English met somewhere in the middle that night, as we watched the giant face of a yellow moon rise over top of distance ridges of rock face. ‘Magic’ was the closest we could come to square the description. Sleeping under the moonlight he was seizing the moment as he saw best. I covered him with one of my extra blankets, a small gesture of solidarity. Natalia and I would lie out for another hour or so, on the ice-cold sand dunes under the sea of sky talking and giggling like schoolgirls sharing a saucy secret.
We laughed about the events of the day, the highlight of which had to be one of our trekmates camels who came loose from the caravan and went astray -- in the pitch blackness of the desert. The only saving of our friend was Chris, from England calm as a cucumber he spoke up from the back of the camel line "Um (pause) I think we may have a problem here."
After our laughs subsided, we shared relationship matters as they were in our distant and far away lives back home and some of our favorite things, her love for the book 'The Little Prince' whose author’s plane had crashed in the Sahara and had been forever changed as a result -- the personal strength I had found since my divorce, my love for traveling, writing and my children -- how I missed them most that night. We sat in silence for a while after that, maybe just running around in our own heads or maybe sitting very quietly, very still inside.
Then, just goodnight.
It seemed like only a few minutes passed before my squinting eyes would meet the sunrise from behind the wool flaps of our Berber tent. The light was blinding bright, I pulled back the tent and stepped out into the desert. I stared at the wonder all around me. Was this what it was like to be born? Is this what it feels like? Breath squeezed from my lungs in awe and amazement. I drank the sunlight, along with my piping hot mint tea and consummated my rite with that libation and this thought: "This sunrise happens exactly in this way, every morning whether I am here or not." I feel infinitely powerful and utterly insignificant all at once. I sip, and think. “Stillness is where solutions are found, silence is where the wisdom resides.“
Maybe Matthieu also found himself in the same silence.
The ride back to Marrakech was very quiet for me. I lost myself in the passing views, and in the roadside stops through Ouarzazete. The silent funeral procession through a local village, the gentle sunset, a craftsman selling his wares. The purple and gold gilded journal I had brought along for this exact moment, makes her first appearance for this time. For these thoughts. Once our tour bus reached Marrakech city, we said goodbye to our trekmates and headed back through the square towards our equity point hostel.
We made it back into the city in time enough for a final flash of sunset and the most delicious Moroccan spa experience you could possibly fathom. A hammam known as a Moroccan bathhouse was the absolute perfect follow up to a two day desert romp. No tub, just a tiled room with a streaming faucet and burning hot to the touch, perspiring walls. The multi-step cleansing technique was an apothecary’s brew of alternating hot and cold water, olive oil (black) soap and a paste of eucalyptus, dark lava mud olive oil and other essential oil extracts. After a good scrub, I treated myself to an hour of full body massage wonderland. Orange blossom water completed my ritual of ablution. It was symbolic for me to have chosen a traditional Moroccan hammam, where all patrons as part of the ritual are completely naked. This is where you leave all the hang-ups, this is where I had that conversation, and where I healed. This was where I celebrated my body and all of her beautiful perfect imperfections, the re-incorporation phase of my rite. The assumption of my sparkling new identity.
After getting back 'home' to the hostel and a good night's sleep, Natalia, Mark, Chris and I met up with our friend Bartek who had opted out of the desert trek, originally from Poland and straight stand up comedy (this guy), no chaser. Witty commentary. Sharp jokelines, street smarts for days. He's definitely one you want on your team, and BONUS I think he loves wine as much as I do.
After an obligatory stop through the main square for a morning glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, we jump into a horse-drawn carriage to visit Jardin de Majorelle, an exquisite garden oasis designed by expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle and considered the botanical muse of its once owner world renowned designer and artist Yves saint Laurent, whose ashes were scattered there in 2008.
If you ever find yourself in Marrakech, please visit the Majorelle. It can best be described as Morocco's answer to a Japense Zen garden. Tranquil and enchanting. Colors captivating, magnificence in garden and architecture surround a memorial to Saint Laurent. Even the birds of the garden are at peace and so at ease that they will share your almond pastries, and even eat directly from your fingertips if you are inclined.
After dancing through the gardens, and sneaking a peek at the local Acima supermarket; where I buy some local cheese and a Tunisian Bordeaux-like wine (Vieux Magon, 2007) ... I remember that my fairytale adventure is winding down and I will soon have to board the 9 pm Marrakech Express -- an overnight sleeper train that would take me directly to Tangiers (the passenger port -- I got it right this time). Tangiers to Málaga by bus. Málaga to Paris by plane, aireuropa. Airfrance from Paris to Washington DC.
My friends walk me to the cabbie stand, hugs and farewell kisses. I cry all the way to the train station.
I just met them and already I miss them, deeply.
Marrakech lies at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, it is made of an old fortified city and a modern counterpart. Marrakech has the largest traditional market (souk) in morocco and also has one of the busiest main squares in the world, Djemaa el Fna. The square is precious to us as a human people and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The square bustles with acrobatic monkeys, story-tellers, henna artists, horse-drawn carriages, water sellers, dancers and musicians. Every night around 6:00 in the evening, a hundred or more food stalls open in the square turning it into a huge busy open-air restaurant. Some of the most amazing architecture and history jump out to welcome you and compete for your attention.
The Koutoubia mosque, the ruins of el Badii palace and the High Atlas Mountains are only a few of the experiences that scratch the surface of this most amazing paradise.
It is thought by some that the origin of the name Marrakech, comes from the Berber work mur (n) akush, which means ‘Land of God’.
Whatever your religious persuasion, I can only speak for what happened to me there and what was changed in me. Life personified, living out its dream as me, as Mark, the two Chris', Bartek, Mr. Ghandi, the Melting Pot Hostel manager (I already forgive you), Osmar, the bus guy in Tangiers, Abdul the cabbie, Aziz, Natalia, Surinder and me.
Life's pure energy was always in me, as me. My responsibility was merely to acknowledge that. To do much more would muddle with a series of perfectly orchestrated events that, while not pre-determined unfurled precisely as they should have, for all of the right reasons. I have realized that I am nothing more than an animated ball of clay. Within which stars fly and desert skies cry moonrise and remind me of nights around a fire with a world as small as the faces around me. I was everywhere, in them. Everything is always perfect it is only our vision that requires adjustment.
I am sitting at my cubicle desk, facing the window to the east; wondering if Morocco is missing me as much as I long to be there.
Thank you for traveling with me.
by Nira Minniefield
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