‘Would you be happier being a stupid but happy pig, or an intelligent but unhappy person?’ The question was thrown into the dark room, its source unrecognisable in my stupor.
‘Pigs are actually very clever,’ someone replied. ‘The average pig is as intelligent as a three year old child’.
‘Yes, but they are still ignorant of their own existence,’ said the voice again. A long haired guy next to me was drooling, but I don’t think he realised. A television was making noise somewhere, and I realised I had gone too far.
‘Fuck you. Fuck all of you!’
A horrible fear was kicking in – everything was moving too fast, too many thoughts, none of them satisfying. Time rolled on, and I realised I had no idea how long we’d been sat there in the dark silence in our New York hotel room. Continue reading
So, there I was, in the back of a van uncomfortably spluttering its way toward Sidi Ifni with six Moroccans and an Australian backpacker called Pete. We sat nervously perched on side benches, the windows were blacked out but shafts of light cut the must from the driver’s cabin. It had the air of a troop truck, busing its uncomfortable passengers to the impending front. We arrived in a town that did little to undo this apocalyptic sensation; it felt like it had been abandoned in the wake of a gas attack.
If you have ever seen cattle hounded, bewildered through through the steel gates of a market, you may be able to better envisage my second arrival in Marrakesh. Easter holidays in Spain and France had begun and the hotels had filled themselves with droves of holidaying tourists (I, of course rather snottily, view myself as not a part of this ogling rabble, but instead label myself a “traveler”). My advances toward establishments were met with uniform and numerable “complets.” It was one of those occasions when even the most pioneering attempt at appearing not to be worried or confused fails. With failure came a good dozen (why do I say good? none were good.) rather unappealing offers of, among other things, rooms. Two of these included “girls” in the equation, given later events this would have been a favorable prospect. Continue reading
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.
It is a strange coincidence that, in this country, whenever I have been heading south I have been ill and whenever I have gone back north I have got better. Were I a superstitious man, I would take this as a sign and stop my gradual quest toward Mauritania and head back north to the welcoming arms of Chefchaouen. Being either too rational or too addled by fever to put two and two together, I continue into the ever more barren south, ever more ridden by the war being raged inside of me.
NEW! A Hashmark correspondent’s adventures in Morocco:
There are benefits both to traveling alone and to traveling in company. There is, however, only one way to describe the transition from one to the other: unpleasant. First comes denial. Unable to come to terms with the lack of companionship and irked by that dead end that comes directly after finishing something and discovering that you have no idea what to do next, I paced, worried and feverish. I then replaced my friends with a book, finishing “Earthly Powers” by Anthony Burgess in three days, thinking of little else in the process. Having completed that, a sense of excited acceptance came over me, gone were the days of shakes and obsessive pen chewing. This change was helped along by the reemergence of this trips buddy from Canada: Guy, with whom I share not only a language but also a propensity for making distasteful jokes about the overweight Spaniards, who have flocked here over the past few days in droves. With acceptance has come adventurousness, no longer tied down by the tepid and tame Pascoe or the fun but reclusive Duncan, I have begun taking large hikes up around the “horns” that surround this little town, jutting up from its sides like a broken bone from a leg (an analogy that will become relevant as the story continues). Continue reading
Glasgow is great. After a term and a bit that is the conclusion I have come to. And its far more Scottish than Edinburgh, which felt like it was the kind of place that English retired couples would like to live.