When I came back from New York (Blog Fog), it was C1 and C2’s last day of school before Easter holidays. Jet lagged and foggy myself, I unpacked and repacked for Maroc (Morocco), while hoping to spend the next week making a plan. I wanted to consider my next professional pursuit and think about what to write about on LondonLatte…
We woke at 3am to get a Ryanair flight from Luton. If anyone has flown Ryanair, or if anyone has tried to get to Luton at 3am on a Saturday during school holidays, (or any day for that matter ….really), I think you might agree that thinking is irrelevant and one simply has to do what they do on autopilot.
Magazines for the kids? Check
(this particular trip was electronic free…which I suppose is worthy of an entire post in and of itself! but I digress…)
Cat fed? Check
(for the next 10 days? no – just kidding, catcare arranged – check)
And BY THE WAY,
WHERE is this (!*£&*!) LUTON and WHY are we going all the way to (!*X$!*!) LUTON and …
And so goes the next 10 minutes of my ranting to CSr (Daad) that ‘surely’ we could have caught a flight from an airport ACTUALLY IN London?
AT 3 (!*$%*!) AM
Sorry…but c’mon, it’s 3 AM!
And we ALL know I am NOT a morning gal, despite my previous career of waking at 5am to get to work, but that’s another story right?
All packed up and with a bit of adrenaline I am both excited to get away and worried that something will go wrong. I wonder if I should have investigated Ryanair’s recent flight patterns and am having visions of …
Irish flight attendants of a budget airline on camels.
Not reallllly a good thought to be having at 3am.
Never mind…all checked in and ready to board now, despite C2 looking around the airport for all of the…
‘How was your…WHATEVER…experience today?’
I’m quite sure that whoever designed this feedback system was thinking of valued air travel customers, and failed to consider that bored, sleep deprived children would roam the airport halls pounding on not 1 carefully considered option, but ALL 4 of the faces…EVERY time.
Hmmm…not my problem.
On board now…
And keep it coming…
Errr…um, what is that?
I know I just got back from NY but why does my coffee look somehow like Eero Saarinen’s JFK airport design?
I must be delirious…whatever they are…keep ’em coming please.
CSr (Daaad) hands me the customs forms and I’m not really sure why. He is the one fluent in French and I certainly don’t speak Arabic but aha…English.
I fill out C1, C2 and even CSr’s information by heart, but I am taking ages to fill out my form.
My Irish passport just arrived a few days ago (THAT is another story), and the layout and relevant information has changed.
I now need more space on the form du Maroc, to clarify that I was born in New York… but my nationality is Republic of Ireland and my country of residence is the UK.
I’m not travelling with my US passport, which would seemingly be easier, but in fact would only complicate matters further, since my US passport is still in my maiden name (THAT is ALSO another story and not one which CSr is very happy about by the way but I digress …again)
Finally finished with all that shtuff and I can move on to the next line, which is to fill out my Profession (or as stated in English), Occupation.
Profession, Occupation, Work, Job, yadda yadda yadda. I got it. It’s the same in French, English, Arabic or Swahili…
Since I am not employed full time and my registered company is not operational, I always write N/A now…except on my UK tax forms.
There I am very 21st centuryesqued…NOT!, known as a ‘Homemaker’.
I wanted to write Wonder Woman.
But this being a…shall we say, conservative… albeit progressive destination, I leave it blank.
(I hope Gal Gadot does Lynda Carter justice this fall)
So, I could probably stop now and post 2 or even 3 more stories but…being on a Maroc ‘N Roll and all…
it’s possible that nobody ever reads this again…ever…not ever…so I’ll carry on…
We arrive in Marrakesh and the sun is shining and the air is cool and it has been a quick 3 hour flight without any hiccups, despite all the criticism Ryanair receives and all the tangents I have gone on.
Customs is very crowded and C1 and C2 have sat still for more than 20 minutes and obviously need to jump around…of course.
CSr and I had been to Morocco a few times before and remembered that taking pictures is not always appropriate or appreciated.
‘Photography (tasweer) means the taking of pictures of living, animate moving beings, like people, animals, birds, etc. The ruling is that it is forbidden on the basis of a number of reports.’
I’m pretty sure that photography is prohibited in most places now near sensitive or high security areas such as airports and government buildings, but particular religious and scholarly writings make it even more so in countries like Morocco.
(Full disclosure then…the next few images are NOT my own…obviously)
FINALLY it is our turn and as usual, I threaten C1 and C2 that if they don’t behave, we won’t be allowed in the country. (It does work).
The customs police officer asks who is C1. C1 stands to attention and then we hear a light pound of his passport getting stamped. The same process occurs for C2 and then CSr (Daaad)…all very slowly and methodically.
When it is my turn, the customs police officer looks at me and asks me a question,
This is what he says:
‘You no work?’
This is what I hear:
‘YOU !!!!!! …
NO WORK?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? !!!! *”$!$%*!$^?!
I get it. I need to figure it out…
I’m working on it dude.
I don’t think he wants to hear about my blog fog and I doubt he is interested in my identity crisis, so I quickly and immediately respond.
‘NO, no work’.
I don’t know…
‘No, no work’.
Just like that.
Like English is my 2nd…or even 3rd language.
No…‘well, actually I’m working on that sir.’
Or…‘funny you should ask – what do you think about this idea…’
And not even an… ‘Apologies for leaving that bit blank sir but no, I am currently not officially employed.’
Nope none of that.
Asked and answered.
14 years at financial institutions, 4 years of art consulting, a couple of graduate degrees, a business plan started and stopped and a new course recently started…all summed up into 2 words.
CSr (Daaad) actually tried to explain to the customs officer that I DO work looking after my two terrors…awww…bless. But I don’t think he cared.
Anyway, I’m on holiday (vacation) with my family so not working sort of suits anyway…of course.
Since you came all this way to see pictures of camels, I’ll wrap it up now with more pictures…now that I am out of a security sensitive area, I can show more of Morocco with my own pictures.
Marrakesh is an old fortified city and within the red sandstone walls is Africa’s busiest square, Jemaa (or Djemma) el-Fnaa in the Medina.
Snake charmers in the square…
Fresh orange juice and dried fruit stalls…
Argan oil and healing herbs in a local Herboriste…
where C1 just HAD to HAVE some tangerine and argan oil, thereby causing CSr (Daaad) to lose the economic negotiation going on with the man in the lab coat…
We got led astray – literally while trying to leave the souk, which is a spiraling traditional Berber marketplace within the Medina, and wound up in the tanneries, where animal hides are turned into…yep, leather…
I think I still smell of burnt flesh and mint leaves, which you are given to hold under your nose while walking around.
I swore that I would never buy leather again…but, well…that didn’t last long when we visited Place Vendome and Atika shoe shop the next day, despite my disinterest in shopping… but let’s move on…
After 4 hours of wandering aimlessly and admittedly getting lost, I was ready for more traditional holiday activities like lounging by the pool and ordering a drink…
That’s better – although the weather was not as you can see.
C1 and C2 didn’t mind though and swam the rest of the afternoon.
Btw, I don’t like when people take pictures of their own toes while on holiday and send them so why am I doing it? Who knows but there it is.
Two days later we left for Essaouria, an old fishing harbour on the west coast of Morocco. On the 2 hour journey, and with C1 and C2 (FINALLY), asleep in the car, I began to appreciate what an adventure we were all having in Maroc.
I took this picture on my Ipad while we were travelling at 100kph without stopping…
I just LOVE how it captures the layers of the landscape in what is a pretty clear image for a fly by shot…
a single moment as we rush by
Something in me shifted as I thought about this image and how it was taken.
It made me think about how to capture more moments…to see them…to REALLY be with them.
And isn’t it the moments that REALLY matter anyway?
I may not have the career that I thought I would at this point in my life.
I may still be wondering what comes next for me professionally.
But the moments?
I know it’s easy to say that while on holiday but it REALLY is so easy.
Then again, maybe it’s just the fact that we’re on the way to the beach and we all know how much I LOVE the beach…
A few more moments over the next few days…
The day’s catch at the Essaouria market…
Camel rides on the beach…
Or a bit of surfing in the afternoon…mind the camel poo!
Moroccan Rollin’ with it…
Maroc ‘N Roll…
Maroc ‘N Moments
On the way home, I had to fill out those (!*&$*!) customs forms again…this time a Fiche D’Embarquement.
I paused for a few seconds when filling my own form out again, but decided to just leave the Profession/Occupation line blank… again.
When it was our turn at customs, it was pretty much the same process as when we arrived…serious faces, stern looks and a bit more emphatic pouding of the rubber stamp into my children’s passports.
Again I was last and again the customs officer looked at me suspiciously and asked in a manner that I still think was a slightly accusatory tone, like that of his colleague 10 days earlier…
‘YOU, no work?’
And again, I responded…although more thoughtfully, more serenely and almost giddy as I replied…
No, No work.
Coca Cola…and a smile
Happy Summer term everyone!
Thanks for reading and commenting last week…really appreciated!