I’ve been at home, here in the wonderful Northwest African country of Morocco, for nearly a month and haven’t blogged about it until now. This is both a very ancient land and society, and an extremely modern and up-to-date one, at the same time. The latest amenities, such as constant wi-fi, depend upon the part of the city you happen to be in. Naturally, I chose a period hotel right in the Ancient Medina, the Old Town, within the high walls of the original port enclave. Although Hotel Central did have internet, as it grandly proclaimed on Hostelworld, one’s ability to log on was a privilege not granted to many. That was okay with all of us laid-back guests, who were already well into feeling one-thousand years old; after our first venture into the exciting and colorful warren of Casablanca’s Bazaar.
Not when Rick’s Café, an important location in the 1942 movie, “Casablanca,” was right down the street. If Humphrey Bogart didn’t need internet; then, neither did we!
So, blogs, and even letters home, went by the board while Casablanca got me by the heart; perhaps never to let go. The truth of that suspicion is born out by the fact that, within two weeks of arrival, I was moving into my own, rented, two-bedroom apartment, (only $400 per month), and fixing it up to be my production studio for my latest creative endeavor: YouTube Travel Videos.
When my visa has allowed, and most-particularly, when my heart tells me that I love a city too much to leave it; I will stay for the three-to-six months that my passport allows. I happily did this in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; San Pedro, Belize; and Tallinn, Estonia. The rest of the time, I was romping rapidly throughout Europe, Russia, Spain and the Canary Islands; not even taking time to familiarize myself with the professional gear weighing my biggest suitcase into overcharges, every flight.
As if to boot me into overdrive, my ancient Compaq laptop took a dive, which killed its hard drive; causing me to look seriously at my new and smaller Asus computer and my sliver of a Samsung Tablet, S2, which had been languishing along with packed headphones, video cams, cords, plugs, and who knew what-all? Thanks to my friend, the Movie Producer, who had put me under contract for a Reality Show about my world travels, I was aware of the possibilities of my current vagabond life; but not very sure of myself when it came to the recording of it.
One of the reasons, was that I hadn’t found the flavor…..that elusive special zest…… in any of the countries that I’d solo’d in, over the past eighteen-months. Doesn’t everybody go there? Don’t we always see their tourist sites in every glossy magazine? What makes me think that I could cover it better than Rick Steves? My little point-and-shoot was all I needed for touristing; and those photos sufficed well enough for this blog and anything else I needed them for. I never even used the video function on that little Nikon of mine. And yet, I dragged a studio around with me! Waiting for the Show to proclaim itself to my heart!
Morocco, Morocco, Morocco!
It was Islam and the true peace that I found here in all the Moslem hearts! It was my brand-new friends, made in a sporting goods store, where I shopped for sports bras and pouches to tuck my spy-camera into. I confided to the staff my reasons for wanting such an odd collection: Suddenly, I wanted to get lost again among those ancient, colorful bazaar shops, filming their gorgeous, Oriental carpets, their silver trays and tea sets; the carved cedar wood boxes and statues; the inlay-everything. I didn’t want to look like a tourist, or even a professional documentarian. I wished to be, intimately, among them; capturing the soft glow in their naturally-happy and welcoming eyes; rather than an American tourist, just off that big white boat in the harbor.
I was in love! Pure and simple! And Youssef and Azziz went through their modern City Sport Athletic Shop, finding all the tools and clothing I needed to be a successful spy. Azziz has just opened an American-style, barbeque restaurant in Casablanca, called The Big Egg, of all things! I later learned that the name is inspired by their huge, green, wood-fired, egg-shaped Grill, within which is cooked some of the very delicious food served there. It does look like a gigantic green dinosaur egg when the cover is closed. Azziz invited me to dine at The Big Egg that night.
I’d walked a lot that day, and shopped a lot. All I really wanted to do was to collapse back in my hotel room and go to sleep. But, thank goodness, I had the sense to realize how proud he was of his week-old contribution to the Casablanca food scene….. and how eager to show it off to this brand-new, American arrival. So, I quickly changed clothes and taxied to The Big Egg for the first of a series of events that led to everything that Casablanca has become to me.
And also, to the first two video productions of my new YouTube Reality Series, which I’ll post here when I’m finished editing! Stay tuned for the rest of the story!
By now, Humanity Mankind’s body had become full-blown. He carried it proudly and indulged it wantonly. It commanded him, but he liked what it did for him. He belched and scratched and consumed great quantities. All the while, he ran.
At last, a desert filled with scorpions and burning sand. His Oriental feet weren’t up to it. For centuries, they’d been at rivalry, but now indulged in open warfare. It started with sly kicks and trips; mild stuff after which a lot of innocence propounded. But, things devolved into elaborate traps and plots by one foot against the other; so that, often, the runner was reduced to hopping around in one place while his feet engaged in a bizarre, karate-sort of dance. This kept him longer than necessary on the burning sand, and frequently caused him to fall into nests of scorpions or beds of deadly rattlers.
In all this burning heat, The Sage beckoned from a nearby oasis, holding forth a goatskin filled with water and a lamp that far outshone the sun.
Blaming the turbaned Sage for all his troubles, the young adult rushed forth, momentarily rallying his recalcitrant feet to march in the same direction. His right hand fired the crossbow and then the cannon, and wielded high the ass’s jawbone which split Mohammad’s skull.
From then on, that hand prayed five times a day!
Humanity Mankind was a funny sight as he swaggered away from his last kill. All hell broke loose in his beleaguered body. Imagine this: The left hand got a death grip on the right, twisting it to yank it off. Both hands, though clenched in a fight to the finish, began to bash the eyes and slash the feet. The ears, which had sided with all the indigenous Sages, Aztec, Inca, Indian, and many more, shut down, sucking their lobes, and eventually the whole outer flap, inside to block out polluting theories being bandied about so loudly from every side. The eyes refused to open for the whole, but peeked through lashes only for the benefit of Jews. The feet resumed their St. Vitus dancing with a vengeance.
As if that weren’t enough, his fingers and toes broke into warring sects and set about a-rattling against each other…like some voodoo sorceror’s dry-bones shaker… like old, dry tongues spitting wicked hatred. Cacophony! He couldn’t travel quietly anymore. Hunting was next to impossible. Naturally, hunger put him often in a very bad mood.
Conversion reigned. Confusion reigned. The extremities wished to expand their territories and sent corpuscles marching up the limbs and into limbo. Great battles assured the death of many cells. The stamps of many Sages Past behaved like power-hungry monarchs, each with an eye to conquering the whole; to make this fine, proud body, with all of its concomitant parts, exactly like the fingernail, or the eye tooth.
Great cancerous clumps began to form within this youth of promise, just at the threshold of his majority. To put it briefly, he was a mess! But, he labored on, doggedly, stupidly, not knowing anything but running…
(To be continued…)