1100 Getting My Mojo Back (Mor 342)

Trip Start Aug 15, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Morocco  , Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaër,
Friday, November 11, 2011

              Day 047: 10 hours, 7.4 kms

It's been nearly 2 months since the nearly disasterous end to my Middle Eastern tour.  Since then I’ve been just chilling out, licking my wounds and not really thinking about travel, discovery or Sharing my Music with the World One Village at a Time.  There have been moments I’ve even wondered if I might simply not have the heart to head back into the cold, cruel world with my guitar any more.

Due to the illness contracted in Egypt, I have been working a light schedule, with 4 days off every week… normally a great opportunity to travel… but that’s just not happening right now.   It’s just not in me.

And then this morning I managed to trick myself into getting out the door.  I told myself that I wasn’t going out to explore new territory, but rather to find some quiet spot to review and practice my songs… I was getting tired of just sitting at my desk every day.

And so I got on a train to Rabat, a city I explored very thoroughly last semester. Once I got there, I had the choice of either just sitting in the park to practice my songs, making this another forgettable non-adventure day… or hopping on a bus to Sidi Bouknadel, a suburb halfway to Kenitra which I’d never been to before.  I chose the latter… the "trick" worked.

Sidi Bouknadel consists of a handful of government buildings along the main drag, a rarely used train station an industrial zone belching out fumes, and a row of residential blocks up on a ridge across the train tracks.  I cross the tracks up a dirt trail heading up to what clearly looks like a half built working class—borderline slum neighbourhood that’s bustling with life.  Live chicken vendors… kids heading to school… kitchenware and vegetable shops… a fellow says something to me in French and waves a greeting….

Suddenly I’m struck by the irony:  this would be considered an ugly, dangerous poor suburb of Rabat, and yet I feel completely at ease.  It feels so refreshing to just be able to wander the streets freely with hardly a care in the world… Why?

Of course.  After Egypt, even the worst town in Morocco feels pleasant, clean and safe!  Yes… it feels good to be home…

But I still don’t have it in me to just wander around endlessly.  I still need to get my mojo back.  To get myself centered and figure out where to take my Global Minstrel Project from here.  So I duck into a quiet little café, order a coffee, and pull out my songbook.  For the next couple of hours I just work on learning some new songs—gradually building up the desire to get out there and share my songs with the world once again.

A Beautiful View

Finally I feel I’m ready to continue on.  I follow the hilltop urban strip all the way to the end, breathing in the fumes of the factories directly below, and wondering what it must be like for people living here… Then I find a path down to the bottom, where I spot a couple of fellows looking at me.  Memories of flying rocks in Jordan come back to me… but no… these are just clean cut high school students hanging out…

Once back across the train tracks again, I feel the desire to explore yet a little more.  So I follow a dirt road through the fields heading towards the coast.  It eventually ends and there’s a gently sloping ridge which beckons me… and for a good reason:  from the top is an inspiring panoramic view of sea, endless rolling green hills stretching on forever.  Sidi Bouknadel now looks like little more than a smudge on the horizon.

Here I do my Sidi Bouknadel Concert, singing songs that I just learned like “Desert Island” “Implicated” and “Just an Extra”.  It feels like I’m getting my second wind and I’m ready for a fresh start.

I head down the ridge on the northside until I reach the rugged cliffs of the coast.  There’s a tent with a Moroccan flag not far away—perhaps a military outpost, so I’m not sure if I’m allowed to take photos here—but I can’t resist the chance to immortalize this first discovery of the “new page” of my journey. 

It’s good to be back in Morocco.  I’m ready to start exploring this country some more.  I know there are other rather unpleasant countries out there that I’ll need to get to eventually.  But for now… they can wait…
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