I woke up the next morning refreshed and excited to meet up with the girls. It was after eight, but I figured I'd give them some time to get into the city and settled before I showed up at the hostel we had booked for the four of us. I wouldn't wait long; something told me they'd have an easier time getting around during the day than I did at night.

I sat in an empty restaurant and was served an amazing breakfast consisting of a fried crepe with honey, a pancake, two rolls with olive oil, a cafe au lait and a glass of orange juice. I couldn't help but think, "this place ain't that scary."

After breakfast, I walked back to my hostel ready to pick up my stuff to meet up with the girls. The sun was shining, and maybe I was on some carb-loading high, but even the charmed cobras seemed to be smiling as I walked through Djemaa el Fna. That was when I got a text message from Lauren.

"Hey, our train broke down over night. I think we are still about three hours out, but we haven't moved in a while. Text you when we get in."

The text wiped the smile off my face, but it was hard to get too down on life given my surroundings. I did some exploring around the square and relaxed with some tea back at the riad. Hell, I even got to surf the net a bit. By 1:00, I had received my awaited text and set off to follow the all-too-vague directions pulled off the Hostel World website.

The directions were based mostly on hardly distinguishable landmarks, but before I knew it I was sitting at the front door of the girls' hostel.

A woman answered and we spent a while trying unsuccessfully to overcome the language barrier.


I tried to walk in but the woman wouldn't let me through.


Still no dice.

Eventually I just started saying Lauren's name, over and over, until the woman recognized it from the reservation. She got the message, but made gestures indicating that the girls were not staying at this hostel and to wait for a guide. I'm getting pretty good at translating Wild Gesticulation.

I waited for about 45 minutes in silence before my guide showed up. He led me out the door and grabbed a tiny black motorcycle that was leaning against the wall. He wanted me to get on.

After seeing the way the motorcycles dart through crowded streets, I was reluctant to say the least, but as the old saying goes: "When in Marrakesh, do as the Marrakeshians do."

Before I could get on, the woman from the riad quickly poked out of the window to hand my guide the tiniest can I've ever seen. It seriously looked like something James Bond would carry around to keep a spare set of two martini olives in, just in case.

I got on the bike, sitting behind my chauffeur, who was maybe half my size. For some reason, the "Odd Couple" theme song started rolling through my head as we started down the alleys. My knees bowed out at least a foot on either side of the bike, and the streets were so narrow they cleared the sides by less than 3 inches at times.

We hadn't ridden more than 100 yards before my guide stopped the bike, got off, and ran into a market. I watched him hand the tiny can off to a man working at the market, who in turn handed him a seemingly identical can. I was confused, but before I could even scratch my head we were cruising on the motorcycle again. The bike was so unbalanced with me on the back that it did a little wheelie every time he hit the gas. Darting between donkeys, tourists and locals while avoiding the ever-present cats was equally hilarious and terrifying; as I clutched onto the hips of my tiny trailblazer I couldn't do anything but laugh. He must have thought I was a total nut job, but hey, at least I don't ride a motorcycle, right Mom?

The can saga got infinitely more mysterious about halfway through our trip. Looking up, my guide yelled at a kid on a bicycle traveling down the street in the opposite direction. Without slowing down, we passed, and my guide had handed him the can. The whole transaction couldn't have taken more than a second, and served only to fuel my now hysterical laughter.

By the time I got comfortable on the back of the motorcycle, we stopped. We walked through the unmarked door of a hostel and walked up a small flight of stairs. As I ascended, the sheer ridiculousness of the previous 24 hours hit me. I truly didn't believe the girls would be waiting around the corner.

They were. I broke down half laughing, half sighing in relief, dying to tell someone my stories.

And thanks to the wonders of the Internet(tm), you can hear them too!

The rest of our time in Morocco was beautiful and eye-opening, if not as exciting as the first 24 hours, but I don't feel like dedicating any more time to it here; you are all probably tired of reading all the overwrought prose, and I'm tired of writing it.

Back to the Rome news!



Copyright 2009 | All content on this site is owned by Mike Reis unless otherwise noted.
No part of the content on this blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Don't forget to be awesome where and whenever possible. Thank you.