North Morocco, and a familiar land

Bloody hell, I should probably speed this up. I’m now in Porto, Portugal, relaxing and doing some urban exploration. I suppose it’s time to get down to some writing!

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So, in Rabat our hitching options were limited, and so we decided on a little train ride to get us out of the sprawl… That ride ended up turning into us seeing how far we could get on the train before they caught us. Why not, huh? Maybe a bit jerkish, but it’s done. We even had someone help us avoid the ticket checker lady, rushing us down the train to stay just ahead of her.

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It came to the point where we jumped off in a very much nowhere oil town. The night was spent under the stars in a sunflower field, fighting to keep ticks off of us, and loving how no one tried to sell us anything in this place, Sidi Kacem, and how the locals were in fact just genuinely nice… I think I can say we enjoyed that town much more than many other places we had been, purely because we were treated as people and not ignorant bags of money.

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North we hitched, hitting the blue city of Chefchauen later in the day. This is the hash capital of Morocco, and man, we had people trying to sell us varying kinds every few steps. It came to the point where I finally snapped and ranted at one very pushy fellow. I think the whole hostel could hear me berating this tricky little fool on how people like him were making decent Moroccans look bad.

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Now, besides all the Moroccan pushers, it is quite a lovely town. The medina is mostly painted blue, for reasons I can’t bloody well remember at this point in time. It was nice getting lost in the streets, and, well, doing what we did in most other towns… However, we did both find ourselves a couple of tea pots… Adams being without a soul, all new and shiny. Mine being a beat up, ugly duckling sort of pot.

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A couple of nights there, not so much partaking in the suffocating hash culture there, but overall enjoying it nonetheless. Then… We kept heading North.

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A few nights up in Martil near tetouan with a couchsurfer before hitting Tangier…. Our last Moroccan city. Maybe you can guess that we were running a bit low on excitement and joy in this country.. And you would guess right. We didn’t hate our trip in the country, but it sure was a bit taxing on our overall stamina.
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So, we couchsurfed with this very… Friendly guy. Yea. I’m not sure how many times he mentioned “gang bang” to us, or mentioned other fairly awkward remarks, but it was sure a fitting way to spend our last few days in Morocco. Unfortunately this guy decided he liked me more, so I had the brunt of the advances, while Adam laughed his as off at me… Lucky for me I’m strange and found this guy more ridiculous than anything. Anyways…
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Anyways, Adam had his wallet stolen on our last day. Yea. Fast forward to the ferry terminal, and we were almost kept behind because of them needing his credit card to verify our tickets. Our stomachs dropped, but luckily he managed to guess his card expiry date (the only info they needed apparently), and we were free! No drug dogs sniffed us (we were the only foot passengers, and I mean, look at us), and before we knew it, Spanish soil was beneath us.
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It was almost time to part. Our last night was spent happily beside a river on the outskirts of Algeciras, the port town opposite Gibraltar. It was a night like any other, really.
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We awoke before sunrise, making our way along the highway to where the road breaks off to the west… And it was time. Standing there casually, we had a laugh and agreed it was time to part. His goal was Gibraltar to sort bank stuff out, and I was to go towards Portugal to visit a friend. After three or so months of craziness on a boat and insanity in Morocco, we had ourselves a mighty fine hug, and a rather prolonged and dramatic parting as I took one Road and he the other. The two roads slowly curved away from each other, so both of us were constantly looking back to wave stupidly at the other. Until he disappeared. I was alone again.
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Over the next couple of days I slowly made my way through Spain and up to Lisbon, happy at being alone again but there was an oddly lingering feeling of missing Adam. Usually when I part ways with anyone, I rarely miss them, it’s just the way I am. Perhaps it was our similarities that made him feel closer, how our world’s were similar in many ways. We are both loners of a sort, and we got along better than I do with most who are always so close to me. Nothing lasts forever, and we will one day cross paths again.
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Spain is not so great for hitching. I did it, but man was it slow. Something like three or four hours waiting on average. I did have a very nice Moroccan man pick me up, buy me lunch, give me twenty euros, and take me to a flea market.. That was pretty cool. He also tired to convince me that smuggling hash was a great way to earn a living.
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The Spanish were quite nice to me for the brief time I was there (so far). I had old men give me fruit as I waited on the edge of some town, I had many give me water… I also had one angry fruit seller chase me away from some random selection to on of road for no real reason. The Portuguese, however, have been a lot nicer for hitchhiking.
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I hitched on up to Lisbon from the Southern Portuguese border in two rides, and from Lisbon to Porto in one! Both about 300km stretches.
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So to briefly go over what I’ve seen in Portugal. Lisbon was a pretty city, but not exceptionally interesting for me. Some cozy streets, fancy trams, apparently good nightlife… Yea.
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Porto, oh Porto has been so much more interesting. The way it’s shaped on the Douro river, all of its many old and Abandoned buildings, and just the feel of it. It’s really… Calm. I even spent my first night here in an old train tunnel, right in the center, and I didn’t feel tense or unsafe.

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I have been in the city for about five days now, I think. The first couple days spent with an old friend I hadn’t seen in four years, and now myself and another couchsurfer have adopted a flat for a little while while the owners are out of town.
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I’ve found a few lovely old buildings to sneak into, a mint field (tea!), and today I’m trekking a bit out of town to see an old sanitarium.
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Oh yes… My flight home is booked. Forgot about that, or maybe I’m purposely trying to forget about it. In around twenty days I’ll be flying home from Brussels. That isn’t an end to my trip, oh no, more of a rest stop on my way to yet other distant lands.
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Anyways, this is me caught up.

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About OutsideYourWorld

I'm a Canadian from Vancouver, BC. In the winter of 2011 I quit my job and sold as much as I could to travel. I began in the summer of 2012, in Glasgow, Scotland. I have travelled since then, and don't plan on returning home for a while yet. I travel to experience different cultures, languages, landscapes, and to further my knowledge of... myself. Travel is what makes me happiest, so on I go.
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One Response to North Morocco, and a familiar land

  1. sbedford86 says:

    Hi Stephen,

    First of all, I know this is kind of an awkward way to contact you but I couldn’t find an email address on here.

    My name is Sue Bedford and I’m a freelance journalist, travel blogger and nomadic wanderer from Toronto. I’m currently seeking articles for an anthology on hitchhiking in the 21st century and would be delighted if you had a piece you’d like to contribute.

    Here are the details: https://hitchbook.wordpress.com/

    If you aren’t in the mood to read through the site (or if you’re using some excruciatingly slow dial-up connection in an internet cafe surrounded by teenage boys playing World of Warcraft at full volume in a town whose name you can’t pronounce), the gist is that hitchhiking seems to on the verge of extinction as many people are too afraid to thumb it. While not all of the stories in this anthology are designed to reassure readers of the safety and ease of hitchhiking (because where’s the fun in that?), the overarching intention is to promote it as a viable and meaningful method of travel and inspire the next generation of hitchhikers.

    You may submit stories that have been previously published on your blog as long as you retain the rights to do so. All contributors will receive a free e-copy and have their website credited as to direct traffic. While I do edit everything I receive, you will of course be able to read the final version before it is included. On a personal note, I truly enjoy your work and would be honoured if you agreed to take part in this project.

    Cheers – and happy trails, wherever you are!

    Sue Bedford
    suebedford86@gmail.com

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