I fell in love with a stranger sitting in front of me on the flight over, turning courteous considerate gestures into a personality I admired. He only carried a newspaper onto the plane which is something that always attracts me since I am the girl with the giant bag of two or so books, an iPod filled with podcasts, and some postcards to write in case. We didn’t speak at all but in the course of the flight I imagined how we met, why I loved him, the troubles we faced together, and the happy conclusion of why it was better that we go our separate ways. We were both better for having had the experience and would always reflect fondly on our time together.
The colors of Morocco instantly awoke me and the giant back pack felt like nothing compared to the weightless excitement I was experiencing. I hoped into a taxi and showed him the address and the hand drawn map I’d copied from google maps at 6am that, no wait, the morning of the day before. I tried not to think about how little I’d slept in the past week. Too many good things were coming up.
The taxi driver taught me the word for sunset in french as I clicked away with my camera, he kept looking at my grin and breaking into a smile himself, “you will love Morocco, you are welcome.” This phrase would come back many times in the next two weeks but hearing it for the first time it felt like it was just for me.
After arriving to the landmark closest to the Riad where I was supposed to meet my Sister (which she had warned would be impossble to find) the driver apologized, he couldn’t drive into the medina. He grabbed a shop owner nearby that seemed to be a close friend. The driver pointed to a cart that looked like a backwards wheel barrow, “he can take you.” I politely declined and started to walk when they insisted I let the shop owners son take me. A shy boy about 6 or 7 lowered his head and stepped forward. Soon we were walking throught the medina, a little wobbily in my state, attracting attention from each group of people in each narrow passage.
I made some friends, felt a bit helpless and overwhelmed, but an hour or so later my Sister and I were hugging and swapping travel stories. We had some delicious dinner before heading to the Riad where we started our Rummy tournament, Morocco 2009.