Friday, March 28, 2008


Plan I: leave in the early morning, when the Moroccan mothers and grandmothers are still too sleepy to push and push in line.

But our south of Chefchaoen search for the field of dreams lasted longer than anticipated, because of the covert February harvest, unexpected.
“Not even one plant I can show you,” he said- the boy we stopped en route to interrogate on the status of kif plentitude on the rif. I bet any waiter in Tangier could have told me if I had asked them.
“Not even any one small tree-like thing of kif down below” is actually what he said, in keeping with the Moroccan tradition of answering me using the vocabulary of the question, a few extra prepositions, and mockery.
All we found was a little graveyard, as Maura put it, of “unimportant people.” The graves were like scattered rock piles but in enough order to distinguish between nature and handiwork.
By mid-afternoon I was en route to my passport stamp (Ceuta). As usual, I was interrogated about my heritage and guided to special windows, forced to muster up “playful shifa” for the bolice. Shamelessly batting my eyelashes doesn’t work as well as it did pre-budagaz incident.

Plan II: “Stamp - Polaroid film – Salmon Sandwich”

The trek from customs to “ceuta” is a healthy thirty-minute walk in the African sun (Spain is in Africa too!) Regretting my boots and too exhausted to investigate the public bus I settled for the road to town, asking about sandwiches, making friends and even found a flea market resembling those plentiful on Hertel Avenue, Buffalo, NY. A witch-like Moroccan woman stared right through me as I tried on boots and coats and leafed through stacked frames. The highlight was a few peaceful minutes spent in the sun on a tiny wall of rocks about thirty feet from the customs officials, trying to chat with the lone fisherman avoiding eye contact with me. I offered him snacks through subtlety and gesture, but the fish out-did me. As his fish-sack grew plump we sat silently side by side across the wall, eating chocolate and waiting for the sun to fall, fishing and listening to the same song on repeat, pretending we were individually alone and then feeling alone and appreciating the watery marriage of continents.

Sleepy from the sun, I hitched a ride back to the border with a man I had passed an hour before, after spotting him approaching a car-like object with a key in hand. He happily agreed to escort me, and started the car by connecting two open wires between us. A few minutes later he disconnected the wires and the car stopped.
"I am sorry, I have to hide some things," he apologized and reached into the back seat, full with bottles of Disfruita apple juice. He then easily removed the inside of each door and nestled the bottles of juice in the spaces between, then reassembled his car.
We passed through customs without a hitch, and I realized I was back in Morocco without a stamp. I tried to pay him and he refused, so I gave him tickets to the cinema. I ran back to Spain, begged for a stamp, got the stamp, and returned home to Morocco in three minutes time, and in heels to boot.

1 comment:

honowablepamera said...

love you. love your blaagh. ceuta is so freaking weird.