Monday, April 22, 2013

Still in Morocco

And since it’s April already, this has apparently been the 5-month long trip. I’m thinking it’s time to wrap things up, as I have All Things Portlandia to write about. So, to that point, here’s a rundown of the key things from the rest of the trip:
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That evening, we stay in a lovely hotel with a fireplace and gorgeous view…..that gives us a heater on a brick. We do not freeze.

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The next day, I’m ready to bike like the wind! My cleats are fixed, I can clip in just fine, certain death no longer awaits me! Whee! Wait…..why is the wind almost blowing our van off the road? Uh oh.

Yes, the Santa Ana winds or whatever they are have kicked in today, and we all know that wind is #1 on Tasha’s Hierarchy of Cycling Suckiness. And this isn’t just wind, it’s Wind. To the point that I’m going uphill at a resounding 2 mph rather than my usual stellar 5. This sucks. I solider on through some stupid number of miles, with Khaled and Mohammed as my trusty sidekicks, with all of us joking around about how much this sucks…..until finally I’ve just had it. Done. Fini. We’ve been biking for hours, but I’m pretty sure if I squint real hard, I can still see the place where we started. Basta. (I think that’s Italian for “you’ve got to be freaking kidding me.”) Khaled suggests we take the SAG van, and I’m all for this – but instead of waiting for it, we decide to cycle back and catch up with it, and then we’ll get the tailwind.

This is how strong the tailwind is. I fly down the hills at breakneck speed, and when I get to an uphill, I decide to stop pedaling. The wind is so strong it literally pushes me up this mountain. No lie. It’s like being on a ride at DisneyWorld, Mr. Toad’s Madcap Adventure or along those lines. This is pretty damn excellent.

Of course, by taking the van some of us miss the “fun” that Stacey experienced, of being accosted by the Redrum children. Yes, three little hooligans – 2 girls and a boy – who stood in the middle of the road, prevented Stacey from passing, grabbed onto her bike, and kept chanting menacingly at her. “Bonbon bonbon BON-BON!” I guess Moroccan delinquency is a little different than what it looks like in the States.

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That night back in Marrakesh we go for a final dinner with the gang, replete with everything from tagine to pastille to platters of fruit. It’s all astonishingly good. At one point, Stacey looks at the dessert tray and asks, “Oh, are those the cookies we like? The Kristallnacht ones or whatever they’re called?”

Somehow I don’t think they have cookies named after the bombing of Dresden, but for better or worse, the nickname sticks, and for the rest of our time in Marrakesh, we’re on the lookout for the Kristallnacht cookies.

Speaking of Marrakesh, Stacey has found for us the most incredible riad to stay at, Riad Orangerie. You find it via a nondescript door in the souk, which opens up to a little slice of paradise, complete with expansive rooftop deck and a gorgeous courtyard. It’s such the perfect little oasis that we might stay here forever.

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The next night, we head out to meet up with Sayeed and Khaled for drinks. The bar we go to has a little couch sitting area, and we make ourselves comfortable – across from what seems to be a Moroccan gangsta. Who’s either terrorizing the people around him or keeping them amused, tough to say which. At one point, Khaled seems a bit concerned that we’re going to all get into a brawl. You see, Stacey has had one gin and tonic which consisted of a glass full of gin and a splash of tonic. Me, I’m not drinking much, but when Gangsta tells us something along the lines of “Motherfucka don’t know fuck don’t you know fuck he is went motherfucka,” I am immediately offended. Because of the poor grammar, of course. Those are probably the only words he knows in semi-English, but I give him a frosty glare, and am about to point out his grammatical shortcomings, when Khaled smoothes things over. Hmph. Maybe we should just head out and look for some more Kristallnacht cookies.

I believe this is the first time Stacey is told to “chillax” – and it’s amusing then. It’s shocking when she hears someone yell it to her the next day in the souk. Chillax, seriously?

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The flight back to the US was uneventful, other than Iberia being the least customer-service-oriented airline known to man, and their losing my bike somewhere between Madrid and Dallas. I would have been worried, except that they also left a couple of other bikes and a snowboard behind, so I felt my bike was at least in good company. And of course, she was delivered to me the next day, so all was well. Until the next Grand Adventure…..