Frank’s Travels: The Storm Before The Calm

Still reeling from physical meltdown but not willing to spend any more time enduring the now frozen hustle of Fes, I continued south. I missed the sea, I always miss the sea; an anthropological archetype resurfacing perhaps. But anyway, before i get bogged down in another glut of verbiage periphery to the point, I shall get to it. I was tasked with finding a place to visit on the coast that was not Essaouira (I’ve already been), not Asilha (too far north) and not Agadir. It was thus that I came to be in El Jadida.

Had I not been close to incapable of digestion and had the weather not been so busy spitting cold in from the Atlantic with such malevolent gusto, I might have enjoyed it a little more. I appeared to be the only foreigner in what was billed to be a tourist town, and therfore became the target of every tout and hustler in the place. On my half mile walk to the town centre I was approached no less than twenty four times, offered everything from the usual dope, rooms and prostitutes to car batteries and plastic bananas. This seemed a rather odd mix until my mid coalesced around the possibility that all were perhaps to be used simultaneously. That sobering but strangely compelling image disturbed me slightly. The town was a blend, or a contrast, of European and shanty that seems so prevalent in this disparate society. Next to art deco villas lie sprawls of tarpaulin and corrugated iron emitting the sound of dozens of women slaving and hundreds of feral cats moaning. This variation continued from the bus station to the city centre, where the whole affair became a ramshackle market, stalls lining every turn selling anything and everything that you could never find use for. The hotel has a tardis like quality, it was entered via a narrow corridor between two shop fronts, but after two turns, showed itself to be vast, fifty seven rooms. This was made all the more disconcerting by the face that the only guest was me. I spent three nights there outnumbered by staff nine to one. This instilled in me a surreal detachment, allowing my mind, still focusing much of its energy comprehending the erratic stomach pains, to foster conspiracy theories and paranoid delusions about how I was being watched (prompting me to pin a towel over the minuscule hole in my door), or that I was just a crazy Moroccan locked away, convinced that I belong in some magical, nonexistent country called Britain, speaking in gibberish. The towns Medina was pleasant enough, but the old Portuguese churches and ramparts now appeared to be run down squats and even the briefest foray into its street was plagued by pesky children asking for euros. That last problem improved dramatically when everyone was driven indoors by the ever worsening weather. I had to leave, forced out by a neglected town neglecting me.

This is how I found myself in Casablanca for the third time. Forced to spend a night holed up in a room from which i could hear ever closer street tussles. I saw a man bottled in the street below my room. I left for Marrakesh the next morning in search of friendlier surroundings or maybe somebody to talk to.

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Filed under Frank's Travels, Hashmark Travel, Travel

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