Friday, December 17, 2004

Danny, this pic is for you, the horror stories are for everyone

You love it, just admit it. Yes, it’s Morocco. Glad to hear you, er, knocked out your opponent in less than 3 seconds. And I hope your ribs will stop hurting soon. I could have used your skills there you know. I now FULLY believe all the kidnapping stories. I've spent the past two days of trying to memorise EVERY AFFLICTION KNOWN TO HORSE, COW, SHEEP, GOAT, PIG, DOG, CAT AND THE BLOODY CHICKEN and still I haven’t got past the respiratory system and THAT only by 1/3 as it is. Also, a while ago I chopped off part of my thumb trying to peel a carrot and the stupid thing would NOT stop bleeding and am GENERALLY annoyed (actually, PARTICULARLY, but let’s pretend). So I’ll tell you all my Moroccan Passion Experience when I was 20 and may all cleansing begin.

Cornered me at the border - the.freaking.border, I wasn’t even IN Morocco yet! - and tried to persuade me to go live with him [hopefully not in sin] in a “big house, with many windows and plenty of food, oui?” He must have thought I needed fattening up, which is HILARIOUS AND DEMENTED bcs I’d been away as an exchange student in Germany for a year, had eaten many a loaf of bread and weighed close to 70 kg (160 L, see how sweet I am?) when this took place. I looked like a fucking Valkyrie! [Those pics will not, I repeat, will NOT be uploaded]. So, Scarface (big scar from left side of forehead down to the bottom lip OVER the eye) wanted me and I was beginning to really be worried when the guys in our group [27 of us travelling in three vans] saw what was happening and joined us - he had me backed up against a car by then - simultaneously smiling and frantically asking me in Portuguese what the hell was going on. As I smilingly answered back he wanted me to move in but I felt I it was a bit premature and HELP ME! they all started pumping his arm and patting him on the back and thanking him profusely but you see she’s our sister, our father would never allow it, Oh but I give animals, many animals, donkeys [and WTF, I’m not worth camels???] Oh thank you that is most kind but we live in a very small house, all of us, we wouldn’t know what to do with them back home, and somehow they so annoyed him that I was removed from the ruck slowly [I was actually passed on from brother to brother till I left the inner circle] and ran inside the van and he just threw his hands up in the air and walked away. I don’t know, of course, but a) he was SERIOUSLY scary; b) I was SERIOUSLY scared; c) he was wearing lots of gold and fancy (if hideous clothes), this was some powerful man. Then I was given mucho grief by my beloved “brothers”, what, I need this? It was my fault?

I fell asleep while we were in some suburban area and woke up in the Atlas and it took my breath away. Because I cannot begin to describe such staggering beauty I’ll just say it was, indeed, staggering. Bu the wind was so bloody cold I was crying, so I decided to take cover in the tall grass while the men peed, and soak up some sun (it was a very clear day). As I lay there I started hearing this whispery noise and couldn’t believe my ears when I realised the grass was going “Psst! Salut, la gazelle!” (hallo, my gazelle!) I opened my eyes and saw a dark head bob up from the grass, there was a man lying in it close by, staring at me from above. I got up and ran, him following in pursuit screaming “Oh la gazelle, faut pas avoir peur!” (My gazelle, no need to be frightened) [FAUX PAS indeed you wanker - and hey, you may not know this, but I just made a joke in French, this is HUGE, I don’t really DO French!] The sweet “brothers” eventually shooed him away but not before they had talked to him and realised he was offering 15.000 camels for me and an unknown quantity of rugs(!), as far as they could tell. All those camels made an impression and I was ALLOWED, as they put it, to go on with our group ONLY because they couldn’t figure out the camel currency. Over this, as well, much grief was given me and I can assure you that hollering “Oh we can always sell HER!” when counting spare change in the hopes of seeing more appear magically gets old VERY, VERY QUICKLY.

The gas station ATTENDANT who all of a sudden shoved HIS ENTIRE UPPER BODY inside the tiny van’s window [they’re very lithe, Moroccans], half lay on one of the guys and started stroking my hair (it was quite long then), refusing to let go of it even when being punched and shoved by my “brothers” who would hiss, in between smacking sounds, “You are so dead, stop laughing!!” because, seriously, IT WAS SO FUCKING HILARIOUS I was crying, it really was, and so I am SO VERY SURE that some of the blows that landed on me might not have been innocent at alI, the pigs. What could I do? I wasn’t scared, it was too ridiculous, you’d have laughed too wouldn’t you? Again, mucho griefo for the next 100 km.

Very, very scary. This happened in Tetouan on a day when the Bedouins come down from the mountains to sell their produce. This one man started following us and the guys told him he could follow, nothing they could do, but he wouldn’t be paid bcs we didn’t need a guide. He was fine with it and was quite sweet I thought, explaining things and eventually suggesting we all went back to his BIG house for tea. I was delighted! This story is coming to you straight from the HOW DO YOU SPELL TWAT, TWAT? AWARD recipient.

“Oh, that is so kind of you, let me tell the others.”
“No, no need, we’ll go ahead and they’ll follow, it’s right this way”
“Oh. OH. Oh no, I couldn’t possibly, they never let me go anywhere alone [strained smile] - João PLEASE COME NOW!”

João and the others did come as the “Guide”, absolutely furious now, started demanding his money and saying: “Look, I just want my money, here are my brothers, and those are my cousins, and my neighbours are there as well, we all just want what’s ours” and damn if the tiny square hadn’t filled up with brutes who looked none too happy to see us, and João shoved me and the other girl close by in the van and yelled at everyone to GET IN WE’RE LEAVING NOW and much confusion ensued, it’s a bit of a blurr really, but we did manage to escape with doors wide open and tyres squealing. It was like a fucking North African Western! The “brothers” had finally had enough - we had all been pretty shaken, to tell you the truth, that was entirely too frightening - and stupidly decided I was both to blame AND to keep my head and face covered whenever we were among OTHER people. It’s a good thing this happened right at the end of our journey really because THE.BLOODY.TOSSERS.MADE.ME.DO.IT!

Not freaks, rather CURIOSITIES:
We went to the all the way to the Sahara desert, had dinner with the Tuaregs (© The Blue People), with whom we later danced, and slept on the dunes under the stars. Let me tell you, OVERRATED. The cold was unbelievable and I was still removing sand from my bra days later. Hell! You can actually see in my pic up there how swollen and reddish my eyelids are. In a carpet tent I met another Tuareg with whom I haggled badly [I’m terrible at it, feel very embarrassed] and who after the transaction was over said: “Stay with me, you can meet up with your friends later, spend the night with me.” I was gobsmacked and started blushing and stuttering [I’m still very sophisticated that way] and, again, politely declined. He looked me straight in the eye and said “Well, you have forfeited THE MOST EXCITING NIGHT OF LOVE of your entire life.” Now, French has never done much for me, I’m an Anglophile and find it a bit too patati-patata [you must purse your lips while saying it to see what I mean] but hell was that hot! He looked just like this
©, which didn’t hurt none. Ah well. Anyway, when I was leaving the van to go inside I’d noticed an old man, a Bedouin judging from his garbs, looking at me strangely. Never mind, this is Morocco, in you go quickly [I was well trained by then and my face and hair were free so I was determined nothing else would happen]. When I stepped out on my still weak legs I saw the brothers talking to him through an interpreter and laughing. Again, the joke was on me, the man had never - NEVER! - seen someone with blond hair and blue eyes and had asked them whether I was a male or a female [ok, tell me again how much I weighed then? Where do you think the extra fat was stored? Think MONUMENTAL hourglass and you can't possibly miss. Apparently you can.]. Also, my being tall was further proof of my non-definition. Did my ears perk up upon hearing it! I was in my 1st year of the Anthropology program and OF COURSE wanted to talk to him immediately about his fascinating weltasnchauung but he wouldn’t even look at me because “my eyes bothered him, they were unnatural, surely there was sickness?” [I actually like it when the natives win. I do.]

I loved my week in Morocco, it was absolutely fabulous, unforgettable and I truly didn't threatened all the time but it was a bit of a relief to cross the border and find myself in the Algarve, by then I was very ready to go home (with its modern plumbing and TOILET SEATS, yes). A friend of mine's not even blonde or blue-eyed but she's pale-skinned and freckled and was also a big hit in Yemen [I'm not THAT pale, mind you, I do tan a lovely shade of gold even if it takes the looongest time, I'm not an extreme honky. I got GENES.]. I don’t think I’d go there again if not in a big group. There IS safety in numbers, you know, even if the numbers have to complain about it ALL.THE.FREAKING.TIME.

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At 17/12/04 06:24, Blogger brooksba said...


I'm glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Morocco, but v. happy to hear you made it home safely. I would have been scared as well.

You are worth so much more than 15,000 camels. Come on.

I keep having the image of a little man climbing into a van, half in, half out. Scary, but funny too! It's good to look back and laugh, even if it wasn't as funny while it was happening.


At 17/12/04 06:31, Blogger The Lioness said...

It WAS hysterical while it was happening!

At 17/12/04 06:57, Blogger paulmonster said...

Yes, I'm also very glad you came through in one piece, without anything worse happening. Still, it doesn't sit right with me that your friends made you cover yourself. That they meant well alleviates it, but still.

After having seen these pictures, I would set the bidding at 25,000 camels at the very least. And really things don't begin until they start talking elephants. That's when the real business begins.

Seriously, what an amazing experience this must have been. Were it not for the predatory sexist bastards, I'd be quite envious. Rock on with your valkyrie self--

At 17/12/04 07:08, Blogger The Lioness said...

In their defense, it was more of a joke really, a funny act, the whole thing was funny when it wasn't being scary. They were actually very sweet and protective of me. And after Freak #4 we went to to a shuk and all I wanted was to have fun and not attract too much attention so I kept it on for a while till I felt confident it wouldn't happen again. It didn't, I was only sold aphrodisiacs in 3 different stores (much easier to buy after the first struggle, cuts down time wasted bcs they do go after you you know, and keep pulling you back so just say yes and buy, it cost almost nothing). Must have been the sight of my child-bearing-capable hips then, I HAD TO BREED. I actually put some in the "brothers'" tea and oh what agonising nights they had! Not, lying - but hell, wish I'd thought of this at the time.

At 17/12/04 10:37, Blogger Ana said...

Sounds like you had fun (minus a freak or two), made me wanna go there one day.
Also, LOVED all the pictures.


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