Persistence

Last night I could not sleep. During Ramadan, the city comes to life during the day and usually people will go to sleep only after the last permissible meal of the night at 4 or 5. During this time, there is a lot of socializing, talk and laughter on city streets (including in my street) and finally at 3 there is a loud and persistent drum roll urging people to take their last meal before dawn!

But I enjoyed the warm airless hours of the night in my room and as I had a strong desire to leave Tangiers in the morning, decided to stay one more day! Not so much out of masochism but out of desire to give this strange city more time and, boy, I’m glad I did! My persistence paid off to the point I can see why so many expats flooded here in the 50s. (Especially listening to fusion Jazz music in the lazy afternoon).

I woke up at 9 and walked empty burning streets to the clean train station where I bought tickets for tomorrow from a helpful young man. Walking back, I passed a couple of low key cafes that were open and ready to cater to travelers and foreigners. I decided to pass and walked to the old medina.

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Next, I went to the Tangier American Legation which is an old traditional house in the medina with a very interesting wing dedicated to Paul Bowles, the American novelist, poet and musician who lived here for many years. He was friends with the Beats, translated many Arabic novels to English and went through all of Morocco for six months collecting samples of traditional Moroccan music for the American Library of Congress.

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They had his suitcases, photographs, postcards and recordings. Also, there was a note saying Jack Kerouac also stayed in the same hotel I am staying at now! Lovely! If you are interested more about the beats in Morocco check this out!

After this, I went to the Casbah museum which is an old palace. I walked around it and stumbled upon a photography exhibit. There I started talking to an American-Moroccan artist about her experience of Tangiers and many many other things. It was great to connect with someone from here after a long time. I also met her friend who said he has a good friend from Iran who lives in Tangiers, London and Los Angeles and is a project director. Iranians everywhere!

Before we said goodbye, my new friend showed me a very nice perfume shop where you tell them a famous brand and they make a fake one right away! They also have original amazing fragrances.

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The exoticness of this culture seems to bring out creativity and timelessness to ones thoughts. Thinking about why I travel (even when at times it makes me lonely), I wrote a short poem.

I travel

 I carry a backpack full of eyes,

And many ears listen out of my luggage,

When my two feet are worn and tired,

Invisible forces push me on,

Like a drop of water rolling down a river,

getting closer to an ocean.

I don’t travel by myself,

There is a whole nation of seekers in my hotel room,

and they are thirsty to experience everything, with hunger, with joy.

Sometimes, I am tired, don’t want to do it anymore,

Then, I remember I am alive, I breath, I see and I will take the next step out of love, for you!

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