2 July 2011

Great unexpectations

Twenty four hours ago I had no plans for today. Now I am on the train to Gatwick to attend a wedding in the desert and reconnect with Assmae and Johanne.

Seven days ago I was in my overdraft with no income. Now I have experienced the lavish generosity of God who cares for more than just my needs and whose timing is perfect.

'All change' in some respects but true to form, I threw coffee down my white shirt before the train even pulled out of Bedford station.

Yesterday was stifling and close, today its throwing it down with rain. Tonight in Agadir, the temperatures are due to be in the high 90s. Thunder and lightning at Gatwick meant a delayed flight. We were in the air for about 3.5 hours - enough time for me to read 3/4 of a David Lodge novel; 'Nice Work'.

Met Assmae very easily and texted Wes to let him know I had arrived and quickly changed my FB status to let friends know I'd made contact and was safe. Assmae came with three friends and we started to walk from the airport. After a few minutes we stopped and talked to a taxi for several minutes then stood around for several more before getting in; three girls in the back and two guys sharing the front seat. We arrived at an apartment complex, Assmae tells me, just for girls where I waited downstairs while she went up to change. I took off my silk scarf from round my shoulders and savoured the few, occasional seconds of breeze while watching other girls covered in hijab, western clothes and Moroccan tunics. Assmae's girl friend is wearing mulafeh and I've used a few Hassaniya phrases already. I was mostly laughed at!

We then got into another taxi and my case was thrown on top of the car in a shallow kind of crate and held down by gravity. We came to another flat where my case was carried up and I think is the home of Assmae's two male friends. Assmae holds my hand when we walk and even though I can only understand when someone speaks French, I'm not disposed to ask to many questions about where I'm spending the night or what is happening or where we are headed as we jump into various taxis. It's fun to live totally in the moment and just see what happens. I've been promised a henna tattoo later and a trip into town.

A plate piled with pastries arrived on the table and what looked like a bowl of milk. Top Gear is on the television with Arabic subs! The large mixing bowl was indeed milk, as I later discovered. It was mixed with sugar and apparently it's something they do when they have a visitor or someone new with them so I was invited to start and then it was passed around the circle. After a while we all went out and walked through town. We walked past an enclosed park that had dozens of animals that were like mountain goats and some with very cute babies. Assmae said there were monkeys in there too - neither native to Morocco. There was also a loud chattering of birds I couldn't see or recognise from the noise. We caught a taxi part of the way to the beach and walked down the really touristy area and walked the length of the prom past clubs and restaurants. At the far end we got onto the beach and began to walk back. It was lovely to have cold sand under my feet after such a hot day. We walked in the surf and the water was really warm - cooling but no jolt of cold that you expect even after hours of sunlight. WE came across this enormous oddity that Assmae could only describe as sea butter but it looked just like an enormous, white jellyfish to me but she laughed when I asked if it was alive. She pushed a bit off the top with her fingers and it looked as though it had a jelly-like consistency. It was the shape of a big-domed fried egg and about the size of a car wheel. We sat down on the sand and sat quietly for at least half an hour until I was just beginning to get really chilly and then we walked for about 45-50 minutes then took a taxi the rest of the way back to the guys flat. I had lost all track of time but knew I was really exhausted. Before passing out I checked my watch - 3:30 a.m.

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