Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From Na'ana to Berber Whiskey

I'm gonna have to do this in pieces. I'll begin when I woke up.

It was 5:35. My train was at 5:45. If I didn't make this train, I might not make it to Ouarzazate by Shabbat. Krista was on the phone: "Shev, Shev, you awake?" Oh dear.

It took a full 10 seconds for me to realize what was going on. When I finally did, I snapped up, threw on a different shirt, grabbed my pre-packed pack, leaving my toothbrush on the bedstand where it lay, and bolted. I waddle-ran down the street, cursing the fact that I live near Sale where no petit and only grand taxis go. I decided I didn't care - I would pay 50 dirham to get to the train station for a grand taxi. I flagged one down, stepped in a deep puddle to get to it, threw in my pack, shivered in the early morning chill, and forcefully whispered "ana zirbana"...I'm in a hurry. The driver got it - and floored the accelerator, shifting gears every couple of seconds. I made it to the train station in a record 6 minutes. I hit my head on the way out of the car, gripping 20 dirhams, hoping that would be enough, but prepared to pay more for appropriating a grand taxi meant to fit six passengers for just one person, and throwing him off his set track (grand taxis function essentially as very small buses). And then I was again shocked by the sweetness of Moroccan taxi drivers. He refused payment, and when I forced him to take the 20 he went to get me change. He gave me 10 back. I was stunned. And I made my train. But I didn't get to brush my teeth until I got to Ouarzazate...before Shabbat.

We transferred to a bus in Marrakesh after 4 1/2 hours on the train. It was another 5 or so to Ouarzazate, through the Atlas mountains, with one stop along the way. We walked around, finding a tourists office (!), getting a grand taxi to our budget hotel, had a lovely night on the roof of the hotel, under blankets, learning to play the tamtams (one very small bongo attached to a bigger one), eating mandarins and drinking Berber Whiskey.

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