L’Observateur : Asilah to Rabat Edition

Two men were running a shuttle from the Asilah train station to the center of town, and in the process, they offered me a room. I hesitated at first, but decided to see what they had to offer since I had no prospects and time to kill. They took me to two different houses and I ended up deciding to stay in the family home, which is something I was hoping to do while I was here, for the home cooking. That night, they invited me down into their living room and we watched a campy Moroccan sitcom and then dug into some wheat couscous with chicken and cauliflower and meatballs. They also have a farm about 10km away and the man was really into the buttermilk he’d taken from the cow that day.

As the wife was serving us dinner, the man looked at me and said, “women... they just love the housework.” Then he told me about how she was from a small farm town and had no education. When I greeted her in French, she looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language.

Earlier in the day, I was in town near the medina and there was a Gaza protest. This particular group seemed a bit more hostile than some of the previous, more “peace”-oriented marches I’ve seen. Just afterward, I was walking up a side street and I saw a small boy hanging out of a second-story window with a toy gun in his hand. Every time the protest leader would scream something for the crowd to respond to, the kid would pull the trigger on the gun, and a recorded voice inside the gun would say “fire.”

A man in Asilah told me I had the “Ali Baba.”

Built by the Portuguese, Asilah has by far the prettiest medina that I have seen in Morocco, as it is airy, clean, and light. The buildings are painted white and there are a handful of well-executed murals around town.

If you head south out of town along the road, the landscape turns to rocky beach and there are a handful of sheepherders roaming around. It’s a really great place to go for a day hike once you get past the garbage dump.

Traveling around Morocco, I have seen not only an alarming amount of litter, but an incredible number of garbage dumps – every one being scavenged by animals who are brought there by their herders. One wonders what chemicals these beasts are ingesting and sending back into the food supply. Differences can be cultural or political, but this is just plain stupid, and has further diminished my ever-dimming hope for humanity.

Between Asilah and Rabat, there is a town called Kenitra, where my parents lived for part of my gestation period. They only glimpse I caught of it was from the train.

Rabat is a modern city much like any other, but there is a Roman ruin on the outskirts of town which is kinda cool.

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