Tag Archives: Morocco

Melbourne

SO I arrived back on Australian shores a few days ago after 281 days overseas. I’m still not home however, I’ve been kicking it in Melbourne with a mate of mine from school who’s living here at the moment (I get home Monday night for all you Adelaideans). It’s been pretty darn rad so far. I got to my mate’s place mid-morning after picking up the keys from his swanky high-rise office, and turned on the TV to find day one of the  first test between the Aussies and Kiwis being broadcast. I don’t really froth on my cricket like I used to when I was a grom but it was still sick to put my feet up and watch it while trying to relax away my next-level jetlag. Then I went to get some groceries from the supermarket but only made it as far as the sushi shop where I bought four of those big fuck-off hand rolls, which I couldn’t seem to find anywhere else on my travels. We sat next to a chick at the store who was on her phone telling her friend about how another bird they both knew had been acting like a ‘fucking bitch ay’. Oh Australia! I wanted to jump up and kiss her right there. Continue reading

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From the journal – Atlas/Sahara

SUN, Oct 16

Pretty radical day. Good feed for breakfast, then headed off to our first stops – some lush palmeries surrounded by barren earth and cliffs, then a stroll through the commanding Todra Gorge. Very cool, especially the gnarly rock climbers doing their thang. Mildred gave a local grom an Australian 5-dollar bill and he was frothing out and was the envy of his band of mates. A lengthy burst of driving followed, so I started reading the history of Morocco summarised in my guidebook, which was cool, then started on Jack London’s White Fang, which is cool ‘cos it’s about doggies. Next stop was bustling frontier town Rissani, where it was market day which of course meant our new tour guide took us to see the live cattle, sheep and donkey markets. Good old-fashioned animal cruelty. The streets and narrow souks were a feast for the senses, to borrow an oft-used phrase. The smells and colours flashed by so fast the mind couldn’t keep up with where each one was coming from. There were blacksmiths, barbershops, textiles shops, shoe repair shops, fruit and veg, and a Moroccan natural pharmacy selling an assortment of herbs, spices, alms, creams etc. I asked the proprietor whether he had anything I could use to rid my elbow of a couple of pesky warts and the next thing I knew I had a burning stick jammed into my arm, searing the flesh. He repeated this twice until I was left with a crispy charcoal scab. “I am a professional”, the guy assured me afterward. We bought some skin cream from him to give the fam as gifts back home and bailed after a mint tea. We then went to the back-room of a local store where we had lunch with the owner of the tour company, who is a guru and speaks seven languages. He told us how one previous customer had complained there was too much sand during his Sahara Desert tour. Continue reading

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Skunked

Taghazout.

MY week of surfing in Morocco is coming to an end, the wetsuit is slowly drying outside my window, my board leans against the wall waiting to be packed into my bag. It’s pretty safe to say I was skunked for surf during my first visit to Africa. I didn’t ride a wave over 2ft and I only pulled into two tiny tubes on the knee, both of which I didn’t make it out. One of the funnest sessions I’ve had was with the babe, standing up tandem on an 8ft foam surfboard. It was always going to be a gamble rocking up a little early in the season and hoping to score, especially since I didn’t research Moroccan waves whatsoever before I rocked up here in Taghazout in the country’s south. If my brain was screwed on properly I would’ve found out there were some better bodyboarding waves further north, near Casablanca and Rabat. If I had any sense I would’ve maybe visited Morocco in November instead to maximise my chances of scoring. And if I wasnt a complete dumbass I may have been checking the swell on the daily, only jumping coastal when I knew there would be waves. But hey, coulda, shoulda, woulda. Next stop is the Sahara Desert for a few days. I skipped the Amazon a few months ago, so this should make up for my world wonder street cred. Catcha. Continue reading

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Secret lives

Not our mate from the apartment but a local lass I spotted on my first visit to the beach in Morocco.

YOU might not know exactly what they are but I bet you’ve heard of burqas, ḥijābs and niqābs. But have you ever seen a Muslim woman de-robe then pound a shit-ton of hash?

There’s a lot of talk around the place about what Muslim women wear. Burqas (usually understood to be the woman’s loose body-covering, plus the head-covering and veil) aren’t that prevalent in Oz, yet – similar to many places in Western Europe – there are all these controversies with politicians saying the veil should be banned. Last year Aussie liberal senator Corey Bernardi labeled burqas ‘un-Australian’ and called on them to be banned. In 2009 French president Nicolas Sarkozy said burqas were “not welcome” in France, “In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity”. I’m not going to weigh into the debate here – I can see why some people see the veil as a symbol of the oppression of women but I also see no reason why they should be banned – people should be able to wear whatever the fuck they want as long as it doesn’t harm others. Continue reading

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Beat It

Burroughs and Kerouac. Photo: guardian.co.uk

I’M typing today’s post from a room a hotel in Tangier, north Morocco, where Beat Generation icon, lover of fine heroin and gay sex William S. Burroughs wrote his famed novel Naked Lunch. His good pals Jack Kerouac (one of my favourite authors) and Allen Ginsberg used to stay here too when they came to visit Burroughs, so in theory I could be sleeping in one of the rooms the latter guys used to frequent (Burroughs apparently stayed in room number 9, I’m in no. 6).Unfortunately I won’t be able to channel any of the genius of these three gurus in this humble post, but I thought it was about time for an update – internet access has been scarce and I’ve been reduced to the odd internet cafe visit when I find one (rare), rather than my usual daily hostel/hotel room creep on the laptop. Anyways, I’m conscious that in my last post I may have given off a bit of a negative vibe about my first few days in Morocco. I was left with a sour taste in my mouth during three separate incidents (that’s what she said) involving sketchy locals, one of which I thought for a second was going to turn violent (lesson for the kids: drug dealers are in most cases bad guys, despite their often friendly demeanour). But since then we’ve experienced only good days, albeit days lacking action or intrigue. Yes, it’s been another of those laaaaid-back weeks, filled with cheap good food and sleep-ins that’d make even a fat lazy thirteen-year-old in his school holidays jealous with rage. Continue reading

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First impressions

SO FAR Morocco has been: more sketchy than South America, the sound of prayers being played through the speakers of mosques throughout the city simultaneously throughout sending scores of birds dashing through the sky, tajines and cous-cous (Morocco food is epic), dryness, heat, dust, claustrophobic maze-like labyrinths of medinas (old towns, medieval old), the jarring stops of Arabic and the soothing flow of French, old men who aren’t very fond of homosexuality walking the streets holding hands with their buddies, cats roaming the streets but very few dogs, the thick scent of hasish drifting from corners and crannies unseen, more rorters than you can shake a stick at (try more persistent annoying folk hawking their wares than that of Bali or South America but without the jokey funny-guy demeanour), beautiful mosaics everywhere (every wall and floor should have mosaics I’ve decided), and classic animal abuse (I saw one dying sheep being tied to some guys roof racks, and two minutes later I saw a dude pull open the under-carriage door of a bus to reveal a lamb in its stinking hot confines. I’m sorry I don’t have anything more to give you, I’m still trying to work this place out. It’s been an eye-opener going from the wealth and glitz of Europe to…here. Africa. Islam. Yesterday we got accosted and cornered by two aggressive drug dealers, demanding money from us in a cramped tacky restaurant, their faces turning from welcoming smiles to twisted snarls. A couple of other shitty things, though not as dangerous or interesting (I won’t bore you) happened during our first couple of days which has been a bit of a bummer but with three weeks to go in Morocco, things can only get better. Bad shit happens in threes, so the saying goes (sorta). We’re holed up in a sweet little pad in a pretty place called Chefchaouen, in the country’s north. Waiting in the south for me is some Moroccan juice, like this:

Pic courtesy surfing-africa.blogspot.com

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Photo of the week – hitting the brakes

IT’S been a pretty cruisy week. The babe and I have been down in the south of Spain, staying at the house of relatives of her stepdad. The house is in a tranquilo town of about 7000 peeps, where old people sit out on chairs on the footpaths in front of their homes, watching the dying afternoon sun fade to deep purple then black. It’s really cool, the padres of the family – Pepa and Rafael – don’t speak any English so my Spanish is getting a workout and improving considerably. We’ve been eating home-cooked tortillas, doing day-trips to cool little pueblos during the day and sipping on G & Ts con limon to pass the evening hours. We’re currently in Granada, home of the striking Alhambra (a huge palace and fortress complex built in the mid-14th century for the Muslim rulers of the time). The place is this week’s photo of the week y’all. Continue reading

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