Thursday, November 11, 2010

Marrakech and the Road back to Spain

If I'd known how helpless I would be without any Spanish, Arabic or Berber languages, I would have participated more in charades and taken an acting class or two.

Royal Stables of Meknes and red clay dust

When we were in Meknes, we visited the Royal Stables which housed the sultan's 12,000 horses and all their grain, during the 17th century.  The stables are in beautiful ruined condition, still showing signs of former grandeur and full of crumbling red clay dust.   I inhaled a lot of the red stuff which triggered a serious allergy attack and I sneezed and snifled all the way to Marrakech and felt quite ill upon arrival.  Abdul, our local guide, suggested we visit this Berber pharmacy because he could guarantee they had sanitary conditions.

I had to act out my allergy symptoms to a very large, looming woman who rummaged around in a back room and came back with a bag of what looked like crushed herbs.  She wasn't interested in charades and went for a realistic demonstration by ripping a piece cloth from her apron, (which didn´t look very sanitary), grinding up some of the herbs, putting them into the cloth, and stuffing the wads up my nose.

Within an hour, I had the most serious headache I have ever had and am not sure if it was due to Berber pharmacetical intervention or the impending thunder storm or both, but it was so debilitating I missed the shopping trip to the Marrakech marketplace AND the evening trip to the Berber horseman dinner and show.   I woke up the next morning with even worse allergies and a new cough.   I was not looking forward to the long bus ride back to Spain because I think I'm allergic to the bus.

And it was another 3 days on the bus.  We left Marrakech at dawn and stopped in Casablanca, Rabat and Tangier before catching the ferry back to Spain.

When we returned to Spain the first thing I did was try to buy some cough syrup because my cough was getting worse.  I also thought I would try to find something for the serious static all my clothes were suffering from.    Something in my acting wasn´t clear, because I ended up with hand lotion and alka seltzer.   I am hoping and hoping that tomorrow is the day I stop sneezing and coughing, cause everyone on the bus thinks I have some deadly flu and I can tell they all hate me for it.

Other news:

We left Morocco with a stowaway!   A young boy of about 14 hid behind the big bus wheel, standing on the wheel platform and holding onto some pipe underneath the bus.   When we stopped for lunch (2 hours later) he was seen getting out from under the bus.  The tour director had to call the police but she was very kind to the poor kid, and made him call his family back in Morocco and bought him something to eat.  So there we all were, on a small highway, somewhere in Spain, waving goodbye to a thin boy as he was whisked away by the police.  Apparently if the stowaways are under 18, they are returned to their families in Morocco, but if they say they don´t have families the Spanish government takes care of them until they are 18.  I spent a lot of time thinking about what would make a young boy hide under a bus and run away to another country.  

Berber horse show I missed
The business located next to the Berber pharmacy

Rick's Cafe in Casablanca

Marrakech street scene

Mohamed's tomb in Rabat