We went to ouarzazate, agdz, tinghrir, erfoud, the desert, fez, and back to our town. The south is different. The people are poorer, generally more open, kind, generous, and welcoming, and there is a heavy berber influence. Most people are very proud of their ethnicity as non-Arabs. In Agdz, the women were more conservative and I heard the most formal and religious of responses to salaam 3laykum I've ever heard. The desert was indescribable, particularly at night up on the sand dunes. Absolute quiet and immense darkness, reminding me of a passage from the Dharma Bums having to do with the "roaring silence" of the desert. We experienced an interesting variety of travel, in a single day we moved by camel, 4x4, grand taxi, souk bus, foot, and small taxi. We had to pay/hitchhike a couple of times and chris and florian got to experience some of the uncomfortableness. We slept outside twice in 3 days, and generally had a damn good time. It was like going to another country for me in terms of freshness.
I am intensely aware of how easy is it to travel with all guys. I am never on edge- the worst thing somebody can do is cheat us of money and who really cares? (just kidding-- i get seriously pissed off when that happens). People may stare, but they don't leer menacingly. Maybe it had to do with traveling through a tourist corridor, where people in every town asked immediately if I was Peace Corps once they heard some Arabic. But traveling with dudes is low-stress. It didn't matter if we needed to hitch rides in packed cars. It didn't matter if maybe we had to stay in an unknown town or at seedy hotels, if we had to be packed in to taxis and souk buses with sweaty people.
Once Coco and I returned to my town we were joined by another friend from college, Emily! We went to the beach and the mountains and generally relaxed. Relaxing would have been easier if we weren't battling a lice infestation and water outage in the house but it was still all good.
It was very strange to have these friends here with Krista and me, in our Peace Corps world. They are the only two outside friends to have visited, the only two who will have some idea of these years of my life. And they are the only two friends who I have seen- all other people have essentially been cut off from me- this time, and who they are during this time, is foreign to me. We existed together again for a brief period in a little space-time bubble. Very odd.
As for time, Morocco was supposed to do daylight savings time. Then, twelve hours before this was going to happen, the Ministry of Time (a real thing) decided to delay the change for another month. Why this couldn't have happened earlier, and what the Ministry of Time does during the rest of the year, I have no idea. But it meant that all the times for Emily's flights were simply wrong.
As for water, it was cut off because we never got our bill. I realized this, went to the office, and tried to pay. They office didn't allow me to pay, so I said fine, I'll do it next time. Then we got a notice in the mailbox saying in 8 days your water will be cut off unless you pay and pay a fine. But the 8 was scratched off and somebody had written 0 and simply turned off the water. So not only did the utilities company never deliver our bill, but they were also so late in warning us that we had no time to respond. Assholes. Maybe they were furloughed because of a government shutdown? oh wait that's america.
Here are some awesome pictures... Click on a photo in order to enlarge and scroll through them.