“Do you remember your first kiss?”
This has been Tangier for me. In the short two-and-a-half days of being here, I feel like a lost child at the start of a grand adventure, full of bewilderment and awe, distracted by the sounds, the smells, the living. To some it’s a dirty, downtrodden port, a necessary evil on your way to the true Morocco, or while you await escape across the strait to the safety, familiarity and comfort of Europe.
I’ve quickly come to recognize it as the crossing point of cultures and worlds, which never truly fit the ethnocentrism of the West or Middle East but which instead just seek to survive as some conceptual hybrid with a subtle hint of obliquity. The blackened streets are colored with the oil of life and every single layer contains a narrative and some you feel, a parable. Dark alleyways exhaling seductively deep whispers of ‘hey my friend, I have good hashish’ and the oh-so-sweet aroma of mint tea, seek to serve as icing on an already decadent, yet slightly deviant cake.
I commented to someone that the difference between crowds here and in Madrid is that instead of the insanity and aimlessness of tourism, every person here appears to walk with purpose or doing *something*. Selling, buying, drinking, eating, fixing things which look completely beyond repair, dodging the petite taxis careering down cobbled streets or just simply engaged in conversation. Maybe it’s been the overly emotional Camino I just finished but this reminds me of why travel is so important. Not for the Sun or beaches but to experience all walks of life; to appreciate what you have back home but not equate it to happiness and to continually show how absolutely bloody wonderful it is, to be alive.