Monday, September 23, 2013

Morocco ~ Here!

We reached solid ground. The first thing that came to my mind was: "man it's hot," and frantically started searching for the cool circulating air. Alas, there was none. Air conditioning was left in the "modern" world and I was no longer there. Here, you sweated and got on with it. You contemplated the heat but you could not do anything to vanquish it. It was sweltering, especially with a baby strapped to my front.

Luckily the immigration line moved fast, and we were out of that first, newly constructed hall, quickly. We moved on to baggage claim. I was astonished to see an escalator and even an elevator leading us down there. It turned out I was not the only one to be surprised at the existence of an elevator: the assistant helping us with JR's wheelchair had no knowledge it was there until she was told to take it!

I held my breath expecting the worst with the bags. Jeff had lost his bag en route to Morocco and it took another week for him to get it, so I knew that the chances of leaving without one of my bags was pretty high. I was disappointed, though, all my bags arrived, and in good condition. The only thing that was missing was the stroller snack tray, but we could live without that. I counted my blessings and was content until I had a diaper emergency.

Still wrapped in my "modern, western" world mind-set I looked around for a bathroom. I found one, of course. I was thrilled. That lasted less than a minute. It did not have a changing table, or any area consecrated for that purpose. The sink platform had to do the trick. I was getting curious stares. What was I doing that was so wrong? I was not about to change him on the floor. Apparently, I was not at liberty to decide what to do and what not to do in public places. The lady in charge of the bathroom made that clear! She handed me old newspaper to put down beneath my changing pad and pointed to the tip jar. I did not have Moroccan cash. That was that!

We were done with the airport. Our bags were spit between two handlers, JR was with a third. Jeff was waiting on the other side. A site of relief. On to the drive part of our trip; a three plus hour car ride!

If I had thought it was hot inside the building, I was in for a surprise once we left. It must have been close to a 100 degrees out and we spent utterly too long getting the car loaded. It was crammed. We were crammed. But it was all we got. We had to make it work. We rode. We turned the A/C up to the highest setting to cool down. Soon, I told JR, we will be there soon.

The roads twisted and turned. Heat turned into cool air. Up we went. Higher into the mountains. Through desolate lands and orchards. Through narrow roads without sidewalks. Through rundown rest stops and fields of green and brown. We saw donkeys, fruit stands, honey vendors. We saw sheep and goats and dogs and cats. Houses were scattered on the road. Lanes were painted on but not followed. Policemen posted speed traps. It was a country in the making, at least what we saw of it was.

Soon the winding and rising came to a stop. The security gate opened and we came to a final full stop. We had arrived at our destination, our new "home." All that was left to do was to get to it, on foot! Up and up we climbed, eight flights of stairs to the fourth floor. Stairs would soon become our new reality; elevators belonged to the "modern" world.

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