"The greatest oppression is to those that don't truly know they are not free."

Friday, May 6, 2011

Morocco Part II

Jamal took us straight to the tour company office where we discussed the matter of our missing friend, Krystal. The company told us that if we didn’t want to cancel the tour, Mimi and I would need to leave for the Sahara as soon as possible so that we could arrive at the desert before dark and make it to our Bedouin tents on camel-back. We worked it out that we would leave a message at the hostel for Krystal when she arrived to contact the agency who would instruct her how to catch a bus that would bring her to the Sahara hotel in the middle of the night. She would at least be able to catch up with us for the next day’s itinerary.

With that plan in motion we set out for the desert stopping once for lunch and once to feed the monkeys in the middle of the road. Mimi explained that she and Krystal had gotten snowed in at the Amsterdam airport and had gotten separated when Mimi had gone to the transfer desk and Krystal went straight to her gate. Mimi was lucky and got on a direct flight out to Casablanca within a few hours but her luggage didn’t make the transfer.

By the time we got to the desert we had had a couple of phone calls from a very tired and frustrated Krystal. She had missed us at the hostel by a couple of hours. Both her flights in Amsterdam and Paris were severely delayed and she had missed the last night train out of Casablanca by an hour so she had to wait for the 6AM train. Realizing that she would have to wait until the might bus could take her out to catch up with us in the desert, she tried to make the best of the situation and enjoy her day in Fes. She had an encounter with Saide as well who touted himself as “JoAnna and Mimi’s friend” but she was keen enough to see that he was a hustler and played him to get a full city tour without paying a dime. Bad luck struck Krystal again when she got to the bus station three hours early and they were already sold out of tickets. She met another guy who offered to take her to another bus company but on the way he pushed her limit by asking how much she was gonna pay him and not wanting to deal with another hustler, she pushed him away and ran back to the first bus stop.

Mimi had taken the camel trek by herself to the Bedoiun tents and I stayed back at the desert resort with Jamal to sort things out with Krystal. Jamal and I were having a traditional tangine meal when we got the call from Krystal that she was stuck at the first bus station with no ticket and was trying to evade a hustler. Jamal immediately called a friend of his who was also a licensed driver and convinced him to make the drive out to the Sahara at night. It would cost Krystal $200 and she would arrive at 3am.

Krystal came into my room and I was so impressed at how good she looked for the hell she had gone through. Smart enough to pack some clothes into her carry-on bag, she at least had some layers to keep her warm when her bag got lost too. I listened to her crazy story before we drifted off to sleep. We woke at the crack of dawn for a sun-rise camel ride on the dunes. Mimi headed back on camel-backl from her tent and we all had a huge breakfast before taking off toward Marrakesh.

The next few days felt like a road trip with old friends. Jamal fit right in and we beautiful Moroccan countryside while jamming to our African music. Morocco is stunning. I’ve never been to another country that has such a diverse and impressive landscape as the United States done. (Traveling made me appreciate my country of residence more—I quickly came to realize that the world does not look so different… if you really break it down differences come down to climate zones and the US has a good mixture of them all.) Morocco impressed me with its rolling green hills, snow-capped mountains, red-sand Sahara dunes, rocky gorges, ancient citadels, and Mediterranean coastlines.