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TRAVEL
Latif Nfoukh
Wales UK
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NIGHT JOURNEY
08:23:33 AM Sunday Aug 2, 2009


HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE HAD A SIMILAR NIGHT JOURNEY TO THIS ACROSS MOROCCO? I KNOW I DID, AND READING THIS IN A BRITISH SUNDAY PAPER BROUGHT BACK SOME MEMORIES, I WISHED I HAD COMMITED THOSE MEMORIES TO PAPER. ANYWAY, ENJOY THE READ.

A TRAVELLERE’S TALE FROM MOROCCO BY ANDREA KIRKBY
We’ve dozed fitfully on the way here as the bus swerves its twisting way through the Atlas foothills, passing headlamps and the dim glow from the dashboard are all that breaks the absolute Moroccan night. I’m half asleep as the bus pulls into town. Rubbing my eyes, as the blur of waking dissolves, I see a wide street, low buildings, a line of buses. Gravel crunches under the tyres as we pull over. It’s one o’clock in the morning. We’ll be here an hour.
I try to sleep. Give it up as bad job after 10 minutes, and get out to look around the town. Above, the stars shine sharp and cold in the utter dark. The puny street lights are too few to taint the sky with orange. On the other side of the road, the houses are dark. Cats slink across the parking lot, fix the bus with shining eyes and, with a flick of tail, they disappear into the night.
But this side of the road glares with electric lamps. This is a nowhere town, low buildings of breezeblock. A single long road. Somewhere between Azrou and Midelt in the blank space in the map in the rough guide. I can’t even find out what the place is called. Nondescript by day, it seems it comes alive only at night, when every bus travelling the long road from Fes or Meknes to the south stops here.
Every stall facing the road is brightly tit as a stage. In one, a man moulds minced meat into brochettes, pinpointed by the light in his grid-like box. (I’m reminded of a Vermeer.) In another stall, a butcher cleaves a joint. I hear the grudging hiss of a sharp knife through meat. The smell of blood is oddly heavy and sweet. Outside the ext stall, a half carcass is hanging, the bull tail still attached. A man comes, buys a half kilo of meat, sees it carved of the bone and takes it next door to be cooked. A cat brushes my leg as it scuttles past, looking for scraps.
The line of stalls seems to extend for miles. There must be 20 or 30 buses stopped here. The noise of their engines never stops. It’s so like a dream; I pinch my leg through my jeans pocket to make sure that I am awake. The smell of mint pickles my nose, and I wander over to one of the stalls where a waiter is pushing fresh mint leaves into a teapot. I hadn’t realised how cold the night had become till the sugary liquid warms my stomach. The engine of a bus starts turning over. A man with an anorak over his djellaba dashes out of a cafe; it’s a false alarm. But I look at my watch; it’s nearly two in the morning. Time to get back to my bus.
Back in the black night, past bright shops where customers seem frozen in the moment as if by a flashlight. Back on our way through the dark, from this town we didn’t know existed to the deserts of the south. As we leave, I see the sign ZEIDA. I write down the name on the back of my ticket.


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Latif Nfoukh's notes (30)
 
2009
DISPATCHES..
IRAQI WAS BEATEN ANS SEXUALLY ABUSED..
PALESTINIANS PUSH FOR INDEPENDENCE..
SETTLEMENT BY STEALTH..
ABBAS WILL NOT STAND IN POLL..
A BIT OF HISTORY "SUEZ". HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW?..
CLINTON BACKTRACKS!..
CLINTON BACKS ISRAEL ON SETTLEMENTS STANCE..
THE 1968 FILM "THE SWIMMER" COMES TO MIND!..
SHELTER FOR PALESTINIAN FAMILIES BLOCKED AT THE BORDER..
Israel denies Palestinians access to water..
ISRAEL SAYS: NO PEACE FOR YEARS..
ISRAEL WARNS AGAINST SUPPORT FOR UN REPORT..
PALESTINIANS LET DOWN..
ISRAEL BLACKMAILS THE PALESTINIANS..
THE CAMEL IN THE ROOM..
Israel puts two fingers up to the Us...
Israel should face war crimes trial over Gaza..
Amnesty and others dispute Israel's figures..
NIGHT JOURNEY..
share this clip of Moroccan comedy..
Child wisdom !..
Sound-Bites & Clichés..
No Raioo Home page!..
Assistance Needed..
Maroc - Toujours - Blog..
HOW PALESTINE BECAME ISRAEL..
Palestine. Israeline or Palestel..
Gaza remembered..
The truth, Silence and Lies..


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