The road to Morocco
Where do I even begin? At the beginning, I suppose it’s best. Or at least, where I left off. Pau, in France. Couch surfing.
June 7th, the day Kay flies home, I sleep all day, 16 hours straight. Eat more delicious food and fall deeper in love with French bread. At night, I blog. On Monday, I wander slowly around town; upload pictures at the Internet cafe. Go for a kebab and am given free delicious turkey coffee. Take the guys pic. He tells me about himself, about his travel; he is nice. I get the bus out of town, across the river, and walk back. The water smells a bit funky but the gardens are nice. I watch the sunset and think of Ariel, wonder where he was born. Wish he were with me, in his beloved France. Listen to the bells toll and wonder why the church is closed, to me, a true house of god would always be open. I go home to a house where everyone speaks French, and get into an argument with Antoinne about whether or not bread has milk in it. When he begins to question my Aussie accent, I walk out of the room. He gets out the dictionary and quizzically asks ‘easily offended?’. He doesn’t realise he is wearing sneakers just like the ugly sneakers Ariel used to wear- must be a French thing.
The next day I sleep until 3 and spend some time reading the lonely planet, wondering where to go next. I shower and repack my bag, and after consulting the pendulum, I don’t do the washing up. I decide to head to San Sebastion, in Spain, where Kay recommended. This morning I said I was going to go… and now I say it again. Raised eyebrows. Yes it’s late. I have such an urge to be moving. I consult maps and bus timetables. Nick has travelled and hitched himself. It’s not practical, he says, thought he understands I must do as I feel. Around 8ish, I finish saying goodbyes. I abandon half of my overly abundant tampon collection in the bathroom, write on the kitchen walls in whiteboard marker, and leave.
I walk in the wrong direction. I realise the boys were right, the buses have stopped running. I stand for a moment and wonder, for the first of many times, what the fuck am I doing?! I walk back in the right direction, towards the bus station, and start to readjust to wearing my pack. A cool and quirky guy on a bicycle gives me directions. I get to the bus station and there are still no buses, not even night ones. I consult my map, think ‘fuck it’, and start walking towards the highway. It is a long way. I stop at an intersection and stand under an open window, that is playing music I don’t know, but love. Start walking again, and then even though I am in town, turn around and stick out my thumb. The car stops, opens the door, and drives me to the toll way. Legend. Jump out, find a spot under the sign going to Bayonne, and stick out my thumb. And wait. And wait. Few cars are coming, a truck stops but he is not going where I am going. I start to seriously doubt my decision to leave; I am counting the minutes to sun down. Finally a guy stops and drives me to Bayonne. We speak a little, he has children. It is well and truly dark as we drive along into town along the river, the view is gorgeous. He drops me at the station at around 10.30pm. Check the prices for a ticket to San Sebastian and dude, it is way outside my budget. The ticket lady tells me I must get the train to Hendaye, and from there to San Sebastian. I get the train, it is a nice train, and I sleep a little. At Hendaye I start asking questions. Where is the food? There is no food, it’s late. Where is the train to San Sebastian? There is no train to San Sebastian until morning. Where is the Aubergue (youth hostel)? There is no Aubergue; this is a tiny ass town. I make small talk and wait, bracing myself for a nice sleep in the station. A couple appear, they are getting a taxi to San Sebastian for 50 euro. They offer to split with me 50/50. I tell them I am a student and offer to pay 15. They agree 🙂
In the back seat with the pretty Parisian, we listen to French rap on her iPod. As we come into Spain, it starts raining. I am still excited to be here. They get out at their hotel, and the taxi driver turns and asks me, Where to? I pull out my Lonely Planet, eni meenie miny mo.. I point to a hostel and off we go. All the streets in San Sebastian are one way, and I feel guilty as the driver winds his way back and forth and final drops me off. I ask him to show me where I am on the map, I have no idea. Take his picture; he was a helpful guy, wave bye. It is 12pm; I walk through the streets in the general direction of where I hope the hostel is. Around me are people partying in groups. I stop dead still and consult the lonely planet. I am not sure how it began, but then next thing I knew, two Aussies are in front of me and I am telling them about my escapades. It is such a relief to speak fluently, to use Aussie phrases and be understood. Damon is completely in awe- Kate is drunk. They are hungry and looking for the Mcdonalds, it is closed. We go and eat burgers, as Kate would enthusiastically tell you over and over, they are good burgers. I tell them I don’t know where I am staying, Kate tells me checkout is closed but there are spare beds in her room and she will sneak me in. Sounds sweet to me!
Inside, there is free Internet. I log onto Facebook. Kate comes out and starts to tell me I have to get up early in the morning and remake the bed. She is worried they will kick her out. I tell her not to worry, and stay up til 4am on the Internet. Next morning, as promised I get up (fairly early.10ish) and help myself to the free breakfast. Cornflakes and orange juice, yeah baby. Ha. Feel a little uneasy but everything is cool when I check in for the following night. So then Kate starts getting all enthusiastic about ‘going places’ and ‘doing things’. I give her my phone to take with her, and noncommittally tell her maybe we will meet up later. Off she goes, and I spend some of the day in virtual reality. Start to feel concerned I am in a new place and missing the chance to explore it, but it is overcast and eck. I walk through the streets in search of a cardigan; it is still overcast and a tad rainy. I want something pretty and white. I stop and try, for the first time, some of the infamous ‘Pinxtos’, or Tapas.
On the benches of all the bars, which are open throughout the day, are many varied types of different small snack foods, a lot of them seafood, and on crispy bread. You eat what you want and pay later. I have two big juicy mushrooms on a piece of bread. Walk and sit by the harbour on the rock wall. The ocean bashes against big huge cubes of stones, I mean, they’re pretty big. I wonder how they got there, and notice that some of them have graffiti on them. Given that they are down pretty low and a long way from access, I admire the dedication and effort of the kids who tagged them. Get bored and wander back into town.
I stop outside a shop that has a huge stuffed bear in front. The bear is covered in this ridiculously soft fur and even though I am sure people are staring at me, I stand and caress it. Go into the shop…. and don’t leave for at least two hours. Some pretty purple material catches my eye, I pick it up, pants- I am sure I am in love. I try them on and they are those saggy bum pants girls in Europe wear (no offence Ellen) and even though I love the colour and bagginess, I just can’t bear to look like I am wearing a nappy. The music is beautiful and it smells so good. They have those Orgasmatron things with 8 legs like a giant spider, made of metal, feels like heaven in a head massage. I spend ages in the change room and this time fall in love for real. White pants, baggy, nice bum, doesn’t even remotely resemble a nappy. 25 Euros. I put on a green dress and it feels like coming home.
50 Euros! No bueno. I take it off. End up leaving with natural deodorant, vanilla essence and THE pants. Go and have a delicious free strawberry ice-cream. I lie by the harbour in the sun, and read the lonely planet. I am waiting for the places, things, people, that make my heart flitter. I read about Morocco, about the Sahara and camels and the riots of smells sounds and sights… and decide I will go there.
Back to the hostel, more Internet. I have locked myself out of the room and when the Internet stops working, I lay in the common room, stare at the ceiling, and wonder about my life. I pick ‘The Lovers’ from my tarot cards. People come in and out of the room and I start to rally for evening activities. Kate comes back; she has bought a new dress. Four of us start to play cards and drink Sangria around 7, I get dressed into my green dress, and we leave at ten. We are with two Aussie boys; they astound us at the first bar by making out with two girls within five minutes of entering. We dance, we drink. Are we human, or are we dancing? We leave to go to different bar. I lose the group and am left with Jackie and Stu, busabout buddies of Kates. I have a few drinks in me, someone asks me about my recent travels, and I tell them ‘I kissed a prostitute!’. I am stunned by what happened, how it unfolded. I tell the story, some laugh, which relieves my unease, others look as unsettled as I am. We walk and talk, go into a new bar, pay too many euros to enter, they aren’t there. But a Spanish guy is, he doesn’t speak English so don’t talk, just hang out and listen to the live band. Every few minutes he puts his drink in front of me, I don’t say no. Have an awesome convo with a guy called Ryan, Aries. Tell him about my life for a while, my plans to travel to Morocco, he uses his mobile to add me on Facebook. Go back to the first club and find the group, Alex and Lee the Aussie boys are leaving and I follow. Back at the hostel, I speak deep and meaningful to Alex for a while.
(In the morning, he informs me I was telling him about my hitchhiking philosophy, that all people are inherently good, etc. etc.) Then things get interesting with Lee, and Alex sleeps on the couch. It’s awkward and by sun up I am back in my own bed.
The next morning I wake up still drunk, unstable and giggly. Hopeless. Kate feeds us pasta and I slooooowly pack. We walk around the bay to see the blowholes and I (arbitrarily) resolve to leave at 2.30. The sun is bright. I have fun annoying lee and Alex with knock-knock jokes. I chase a fat man wearing a t-shirt saying ‘Do not blow farts’. The group dare me hug to him. His name is Enrique and he tells me that I can get a train, which goes through the centre of the earth to Australia. Huh. Say goodbye to Kate and the girls, they are going on the fun-icular. Walk with Lee and Alex until I get the urge to go around the mountain rather than through the tunnel. They’re right, it’s a dead end, and I slowly make my way down to the sand. I feel the water and suddenly have to go swimming. I chase after them and beg then convince them to take my things for me. I run to the water. I take off my shirt and bra (gasp!) and run into the water in my undies, holding onto my boobs and expecting the police to crash tackle me any second. They don’t and I giggle at the fact I am swimming topless in a beautiful beach in SPAIN. I swim out to a pontoon with a slippery slide (!) and after saying ‘pardon’ to a naked guy, do a backflip (Scott would say its crappy) off the edge. I swim to shore as quickly as I can in, I am starting to get cold and a little edgy with the whole ‘ocean animals seaweed’ thing. I swear I see a turtle swim under me, but that could just be my hysteria talking. Put my clothes on, walk into the hostel in my bra, rinse my hair, get my pack, check the map, leave a goodbye card for the boys (the joker) and leave.
It is 666km to Ourrense, northwest Spain. I sent out some random Couchsurf requests, they replied with ‘Come!’, so off I go. Apparently it will take 6hrs and I leave at 4pm. I get the bus to the big road, and it is not the best for hitch hiking. I stand on a pedestrian crossing right before the beginning of the AutoRoute. The cars can’t really stop, and although I get the feeling a lot of them wouldn’t anyway, some look at me like, yes, but not here. I move to the roundabout. Here, still not the best, but possible. Except they don’t want to take me. People shake their hands and wag their fingers. Ahhh. I’ve heard they are a tough crowd in Spain. The sun is starting to be all slanty; the fountain is beautiful. I head to the bus station (close by) and buy a ticket for 9 euro to Bilboa, think maybe I can hitch there. Sleep a little on the way. It is starting to be painfully obvious that I got sunburnt today, making it difficult to carry my things. At Bilboa bus station I reassess my options. Not keen on carrying the pack anywhere. Cart myself all the way to the train station (de ja vu) where they tell me there are no overnight trains. Head back to the bus station, ‘umm’ and ‘ahh’ about what to do. Buy a ticket for 30 euro, going overnight straight to Ourrense. 930pm to 6am on a bus, yeah yeah. Sleep.
Friday June 12th, sleep at the bus station for a few hours. Call Roland, I am here. Stop at a shop, think, What would I love?, and buy them a big ass jar of honey. He comes and meets me on the Ponte Roman (bridge), wearing funky pants. They are a house of volunteers who work doing environmental.. things. The walls are covered with eco-friendly messages in Spanish, devastated I can’t read them. I am feeling real exhausted> I drink tea and make polite introduction talk until I can excuse myself, siesta 12pm-2pm. In the afternoon I shower and watch Romain cook. He is disappointed I don’t speak Spanish and refuses to talk to me. Pity, cos it seems like we could get along. They are heading out; I shower, do my hair, make myself smell pretty. I go to the Internet cafe. What do I do there? I don’t know. Waste my life in cyber space? Maintain vital relations with friends and family? Something like that. Roland said he would come and find me, but he is busy having sexy times with his Spanish tutor, so I decide to find the party on my own. I remember that Roman mentioned a pub called ‘Luxury’, where they have free tapas. Free Tapas!! I want to go there. I go into a corner store and employ my dodgy Spanish, ‘Por Favour, Donde Est Luxury?’ I made drinking motions, they have no idea and are annoyed at people who don’t speak Spanish. I persist, ask for the phone book. No listing. Ask the clients, no idea. They are starting to get enthusiastic now, as my enthusiasm wanes: they are like a force growing beyond my control, spilling on out onto to street to solve the mystery. After, say, 20 minutes or searching and translating and gesturing, I look across the street, and there is Romain. I point, ‘Amigo, muchos gracious’, and leave. Romain is all like, what are you doing here? Uncomfortable and embarrassed, I now feel like a stalker. The situation worsens when the lady from the shop comes running out with the piece of paper on which I have written ‘Luxury’, and starts speaking rapid Spanish to Romain. Man, I have no idea what went down there, but I want to disappear. We head back to the house for them to smoke some weed. I eat honey straight from the jar. By the time they are ready to head out, I no longer want to go out. To hell with good social grace, the girl needs to sleep.
Sleep til noon. Don’t want to do much, mooch around. Ask the pendulum questions for a while. Ronald, Cecile and … are going to Alleriz for the weekend and invite me along. At ten to three they tell me, if I want to come, meet at the corner at 3. Pack and run with Roland. We meet Dora and her dog Bitcho; we squeeze into the backseat of her tiny car with him.
The windows down, me and Bitcho are blissful. At her house, I wash up. She makes a delicious salad with crunchy, French style bread. Roland and I keep eating after the others stop. Her boyfriend mentions a siesta, and I am out cold. The others come and speak to me intermittently, I mumble and continue sleeping. Outside the house, Portuguese drummers stand in a circle and beat on drums frenetically. (At one point, I see a man in the crowd crying with passion.) A few hours pass and Dora drags me out of bed to follow the group to the river. I am irritated and half asleep, though a little less resentful upstream where there are small waterfalls. They’re heading back already. In the centre of the small town, there is a festival atmosphere; I get off on the dodgem car bass. Dora says we will stay put, because they are about to run the bull past her place and she doesn’t want to get caught amongst it. Run the bull! If not caught amongst it, I must at least witness this. Roland feels the same; we head back to the apartment to put down our things. Surprisingly Cecilia follows- Born in Peru, allergies, slight build. The narrow cobbled streets are crowded; the people are like what water would be like it if was stupid. They are waiting for the bull, they flinch, squeal, run together in waves, when someone so much as twitches or blinks. We split up. I see the bull, tied through the nose, men are hitting his flanks with sticks and he seems bored of the whole thing. People take pictures. Back at the house we watch from the balcony. The people traditionally pour water from buckets and hoses on the crowds below. Roland and I sprint down, get wet and dance about.
I wander around the fair and see woman chopping large purple octopuses into pieces with scissors, plate after plate, mechanically. The others are drinking in the flat, Cecile is drunk on coffee liquor that burns but makes you want more, she’s cute. Come back with Roland to try the octopus. It is coated in chilli powder, I avoid eating the suckers. Don’t know how it happens but Dora and I are having an impassioned discussion about why I ate the Octopus. I didn’t want it, I didn’t like it, I think its wrong and I will never eat it again. She says I did want it, subconsciously, that is a biological drive. She doesn’t feel how sick I am in the stomach. I am uncomfortable with my own passion, in conversations like this. We watch a concert in the park; the woman changes outfit every song. Roland comes onto me and I ignore him. I spend some time kicking a large beach ball around and am relieved when we go home, shower and sleep.
We sleep most of the day. We are leaving soon; I start flicking through my tattered Lonely Planet. Where am I gonna go? I am cloudy but think down through Portugal and onto Morocco. When I mention Morocco, Dora warns me, absolutely do not go to Fes, it is impossible to navigate, you will get hopelessly lost. And with that, the seed is planted. I want to get lost in Fez. We run to the bus stop for the bus back to Ourrense. I say I am going to go. Where? I don’t know. They are waiting for me to answer and I am paralysed. I pull out the pendulum. Cecilia suggests, catch a ride to Portugal with the drummers. I am tempted for a moment, what a cool idea. Pendulum says no, my head says they will probably stay another night here anyway. At the bus station I say bye and thank you. Sit with two guys and talk; one is going to Vigo and the other to Santiago, they tell me to come with them. I hesitate too long and they are gone. Examine the road and start walking. Put my thumb and yes, Spain is a tough crowd. Keep walking to a service station with a puppy and a toilet. Ask a guy if he is going west and he is. Jose- PE teacher, mountain biker, strange skin. On an urge I get out at a service station half way to Vigo. Sit and talk with people, look at the map. Ten minutes pass and a lady approaches me, her and her husband are headed to Santiago. They have a daughter named Angela- they drive me across the border into Portugal. Drop me at a restaurant: I request cardboard and a marker, the family stare at me.
Out on the road, no takers. Buy fruit from a roadside stall, ask a Portuguese man where he is going- something gets lost in translation cos next thing he is driving me north back into town. Get out at a servo. No luck with anyone, or the Internet. Start walking to the bus station, it is a long way and my pack is heavy, jokingly put out my thumb. People raise their eyebrows. This isn’t France, that’s for sure. At the next service station I sit and talk with a young couple. <Describe> They give me directions and I keep walking. Next thing a car pulls up; the two from the service station will drive me and have bought me a bagel. No bus or train, they find me a hostel. 17.50 euro a night. Find a burger and Internet at a pub until 1am. Have a double bed to myself, sleep naked.
I dream that the free breakfast is expensive and when I wake up I have missed it. I sit and write: What I would do next, if I could do anything. Portugal, Morocco, Barcelona, Ibiza, Latvia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, Greece, hitch the ferry to Israel, Fly to Germany, sex and ice-cream, Belgium, London, Thailand. I get the noon train to Porto (28 euro). Omelette and frustrating Internet: 2pm train to Lisbon (25 euro). I am tired and irritable, sleep. There are no trains from Lisboa until tomorrow, bus and metro into town. Mango smoothie as it gets dark. Find a room, the old man who runs the hostel carries my bag upstairs. When he says 30 euro, I say I will go… then pay 25. Have turkey and broccoli for dinner. Lonely Planet says there is Internet open til 2am, I bask in indecision. I will go there, I will sleep, and I will go there… I walk in circles. Drink free Portuguese liquor samples, can’t decide on a magnet. I buy one and he gives me the second one free, a rooster! I wander around asking people for directions, in the strange town past dirty fountains. After maybe an hour, I find the Cyber Café in a deserted back alley. It is closed down. Metro back, sleep.
Up at 12, find an Internet cafe AGAIN. Call my mother. Contact British Airways to arrange stopover in Thailand. Call Optus. Get the 5.20 train to Faro. For a while now, I am having a crisis of faith, well and truly. Where am I going? What am I doing? I want a plan, but not just any plan, a plan that is fool proof, includes everything, and has me right where I want and need to be. I tell myself just to deal with what is in front of me. In the cafeteria compartment, a man talks at me for a few hours.
He kinda looks like the guy form the office. He buys me tea; I eat dairy free chocolate fudge. He asks me questions, he is writing a book on spirituality but is all tangled up in his mind. I am tired. A strange and amusing family sit behind him; their son begins to stare boldly and obviously at me. I excuse myself. Back at my seat, I quickly get into conversation with the guy across from me. We have matching huge ass backpacks stowed behind our seats and I am intrigued. Prefer him to office guy. Benoit. With a frizzy main of hair and heavy French accent. He has been hitch hiking but found Portugal impossible. He is headed to Morocco. He knows about the train to the Spanish border, I will go with him. We change trains at the bottom of Portugal. It is dark; the train is old and rattly. We share food. Talk a little. He is travelling the world with his backpack researching ecological farming practices. Kudos, I like him. The train goes slowly, it is hot. The darkened countryside has many smells; I stand on the seat with my head out the window and feel so alive. I like his company. In Faro, we go looking for a bus station. There are no buses. We stop and talk to people who ordinarily, I would ask to drive me across the bridge into Portugal. He is sure there is a 2am Alsa bus. We look for Internet, I eat a burger, we decide to sit and wait. 2am and 230 come and go. Ange’s intuition 1, Progress to Portugal Zero.
Ben has a tent and is keen to pitch it, in the dark dirty paddock. I want the well-lit, thick green grass infront of the ferry station. Ben asks the pendulum, it says the grass is good. The police pull up when I am sitting on the bench seemingly talking to myself. To Ben’s surprise, they say we can sleep until the ferry in the morning. I ask them to drive us across the Bridge to Spain; realise that only works when I am alone. Ben plays guitar for a while. We put up the tent behind the kiosk; Ben nonchalantly gets in to sleep. Once again, what am I doing_! Go to sleep.
At around 5am, I hear a noise and spring to my feet. Sprinkler. Mother fuck. Ha-ha! We are right near one going full ball. I cover it with my hands to protect the tent, getting drenched and squealing. 4 or 5 sprinkler rotations and finally ben emerges.
I am laughing hysterically, he is half asleep. He covers the other sprinklers with kiosk signs- Move the tent! Move the tent! Move the tent! …Finally he moves the tent. I make a movie. Sprinklers 1, Pendulum Zero. We repitch the tent in the dark dusty paddock and sleep. Up at 9am. We eat; Ben plays guitar, we work seamlessly together as we pack and run for the ferry. Back in Spain, it is getting hot. Ben is in a hurry, I am used to a more leisurely pace. I want to wear blue- I buy a singlet for 12 euro. There isn’t a bus for a while, I am hungry. Ben is reluctant to go into the shop because he doesn’t have money. He follows me as I ask for ‘Griffo? (Tap) water with ice, and directions. We walk to the highway. Ben doesn’t think it will work- I am determined- The bus to the Port in Algeciras is 70 Euro. We find a carton, Ben makes a sign. Fuck the sign I say; I get out on the road and start making smiley faces at the drivers, dancing and begging. Today the planes are drawing ragged odd lines across the sky- a young guy stops and takes us to Huelva. We are in the middle of nowhere and it is very hot. Ben thinks we have made the wrong move and wants to get the bus. I tell him to cross the road, and race me to find a ride. Him for the bus in Huelva, me for Seville. Thankfully, I win. There are fields of sunflowers.
After a short ride, out at a large roundabout. Ben wants to stand on the road, I want to stand near the exit to the service station. Quickly a French couple pulls up, headed to Seville, I holler for Ben. They don’t speak English- Ben is French, I sit back and relax. I sleep, and feel a little guilty for not being engaged.
Seville. Ben wants to get the bus, I want to keep hitching. First we must head into town for food and rest. How? A man suggest renting bicycles, I am so excited. Ben is sceptical. There is only one, he says. ‘With an attitude like that there is!’ I tell him yet again. Another bicycle is returned… and one is broken. I rent one anyway. Ben checks it out and informs me I just paid 5 euro to register, although the bike is free. We ride it around to station and wait for another bike, none comes. I try riding the bike with my pack on and bens pack on the front- laugh hysterically, can’t do it. He gets the bus into town and I start riding. It is uber hot, I am sweating, and the river is pretty. Ask people where I am and realise I am ridiculously far from our meeting place. Ditch the bike and get the air-conditioned bus. Bus 1, bike Zero. It is 41 degrees and I dip my head in a fountain. We arrive at the same time. He is leaning against a brick wall in the cement square. We are hungry; I want to go into the cathedral. Ben waits with our baggage. 2 euros to enter, the woman insists I put my wet shirt back on. Fuck you, I think, do you reckon god hasn’t seen this before? The cathedral is huge, there is a tour, and I just want to go where the people pray. I walk through massive dome glass windows and realise Ariel is definitely not here.
There is a courtyard with a fountain and lines and lines of mandarin trees. I sit on the edge of the fountain and the man tells me to take my feet off it. Here, is Ariel. I miss him, he is heavy, and I don’t want to carry him anymore. I remember a story from the weekend in London, about a man whose son died. Every night he dreamt of him carrying buckets. Finally, he asks his son what he is doing, and the boy says, Father, you keep me here; these buckets are your tears’. I cry, wonder if it is time to remove the bracelet I wear from him. Back in the church, I want to yell at the people, that they will not find god here, that god is outside living and breathing and laughing and loving, they should go look for him in their lives. Hurriedly I walk 34 flights up and down the bell tower, return to ben. It is so hot, I am tired and decide to get the bus with him. On the way, I lay in a fountain.
He is impatient but amused. At the bus station, he fetches egg on bread (tortilla?) while I buy the tickets. We get the bus, sleep.
As the sun sets in Algeciras, Ben goes to find his friend at their meeting place and I find an Internet cafe. Her name is Celine, I feel like I already know her. They talk in French and I feel isolated, tune out. We debate what to do and find food. The guy charges Cecile 3 euro for salad and she argues with him until he gets tired of it, and feistily tells her just to take it. She is embarrassed. We sit and eat. I am edgy and restless. I have grown accustomed to following urges that are not always rational, doing things a certain intuitive way. I am following them and I don’t like it. They discuss things in French, and then I make the same comments in English. We go to see if any sailboats are sailing to Morocco but they are all too small. At the yacht club I start a conversation with a woman, they take over in French. She has a houseboat, goes and asks her partner if we can stay, he says no. If I were alone, it would have worked. She walks us to where she thinks we can camp, along the way they talk in French. She becomes more and more agitated as she speaks, I am glad I am not involved in the conversation. She leaves, they tell me, She was in fear, not love. She told them, if they can’t even afford 10 euros for a bed, they should just give it up. It looks like rain- the pendulum says yes but camp anyway. Ben and Cecile find a spot under trees and begin collecting foliage to sleep on. I stand around and feel useless. We pitch the tent and they spread their blankets outside it. What kind of traveller am I, I do not have a blanket? In the tent I spread my clothes over and under myself. Early in the morning, Ben joins me, with one hand gently on my hip.
Next day we walk to the port, look for the truck. I am frustrated still, at having to compromise the wills of three people. I decide I will go to Ceuta, which is on the Moroccan continent but Spanish territory. They will go to to Tangier. There is only one person per truck anyway, and they do not have phones. The first truck I approach will take me. I put my backpack in and walk to find food. I say goodbye to Ben and Cecila. Being with them became confusing and I am kind of relieved. I wait for a few hours. My truck driver’s friend chatters at me irritatingly. I am still feeling exhausted and do not want to listen to him. The truck driver returns and asks if I have eaten. Poco, I tell him. He tells me to come; I walk with the three men to a buffet restaurant. 7.50 Euros, I hesitate, and they tell me to come. Encourage me to fill a few plates. I eat, meatballs and salad and rice and vegetables and bread and then jelly. When he pays, I take a picture. We go to the truck, his friend gets in, and he indicates to the bed with the curtain. I sit on the bed, he shuts the curtain, and we board the ferry. Not how I expected it to go but hey, whatever. The sun is hot and the water churns as we pull out of the bay. Africa, here I come.