Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fez to Re-richidia

28 August, 2008

Even though I am here to tweak a tour, I have decided to treat it as a bit of an adventure, as well.
So in that light I have been taking local transport…which can be a bit of an adventure…I am certainly the only non-Arabic or Berber speaking person on the buses so far. Yet I feel far from lonely.
I took the Fez to Er-rachidia bus the other day, was told it would take 7 hours but with all of the unofficial stops it dragged out to be more like 8 and a half.

Sounds like a bit of a nightmare and yet it was one of the most memorable days I have ever experienced.
Two things contributed to this – one was on a person level and one was an experience of beauty.
First off I got on the bus- hoping it was the right one- so far I have found the men organizing the buses very efficient and helpful, they kind of gather you up and heard you in the right direction. Very business like and efficient.
So there I was plopped on the bus and two men filed on and sat on the opposite side of the isle.
I find when travelling it is best to be friendly but in a rather formal type of way, so whilst I might acknowledge their arrival I am not overly chatty and smiley. [polite school-mam-ish I describe it as]
Well one bloke thought he would try and chat me up- nothing too drastic just try and get my attention, smile and nod a lot as if I would immediately fall in love with him…needless to say the view out of the window was far more interesting and so I studied it.
The second gentleman in the seat in front of Romeo- noticed the scene and just turned around and tut-tutted, waving his finger at him. Et Voila Romeo piped down, turned a little pink and there after found the scene outside his window enticing.
Thank you gentleman of the wagging finger.
A little way along the road we stopped and picked his lady wife and their two young sons….no words were spoken, no interest was taken in me yet when she was serving up morning tea to her little family Madame generously offered me some as well…I reciprocated by sharing my almonds with the family.
Half way along the journey the bus made a big stop giving everyone time to jump off stretch their legs and check out the amenities…not being quiet sure of the procedure I stayed put. My family returned with a bottle of cold water for me and expected me to help them polish off the apples they had bought as well.
I was so surprised and touched by their kindness- in my crass unknowing way I tried to offer Madam a few dirham for the water and she just looked at me, smiled and wagged her finger [just like her husband] No I was a guest in their country.

I have heard of the Muslin generosity, and have experienced in the homes of friends in India [beware accepting a dinner invitation they intend bodily harm, feeding you until you burst!!]. This was to an unknown guest on the bus- tucked under their wing, protected and fed. How very kind. The only words we exchanged were “Au revoir” at the end of the journey. The family of the wagging finger will always be fondly remembered for the Muslim tradition of looking after the traveller or guest. Shukram. [Arabic for thank you]

Second experience of the bus trip was the bus trip and the scenery along the Ziz River Gorge. It would certainly rate as one of the most, if not the most spectacular and moving places I have ever been. No not moving as in the bus was moving, moving as in the sense of it moved me to an experience as the world and “God’s” creation [Give him/her or it any name you like or just call it the Universe- something as remarkable as this it is hard to believe it was just a random event] … I came over all teary eyed at the impact of the sheer wonder of the place.
The is a great poem…”To wonder at beauty,
And behold…”forgotten it Wordsworth or someone- let me know if you know the one I mean.

coming up soon- pics taken along the way...

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