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Comfortable in Meknes

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Comfortable in Meknes
Meknes, Morocco
September 21, 2007
North Africa Page: http://canciondelvagabundo.googlepages.com/northafrica

The sole ripe orange that hangs outside of my window just beyond my reach.

There is one ripe orange in the orange grove outside of my window in the Maroc Hotel. There are many green oranges, but only one orange one. It is, of course, just out of arms reach. I have been contemplating plans on how to get this orange for the past two days. It just sits out there tantalizing me. I cannot reach it- I’ve tried. I cannot throw things at it- as it would just fall upon the ground of the courtyard and I will not be able to get it (I am on the second floor). Perhaps I could make a sort of net and scoop it in? Perhaps I could use one of my silly saddlebags as the net? Hmm . . . Why does the ripest things in life always hang just outside of your reach?

Other than coming up with plans on how to get this orange, I have been working diligently on the Cancion del Vagabundo webpage http://canciondelvagabundo.googlepages.com and I think that it at least looks a little better. I have also added more content to some of the pages. Someday, it may be able to be use as a real source of travel information; right now, it is still in its formative stages. These websites take an incredible amount of work. I have a lot of respect for those people who can keep their websites going while travelling.

I have become really content here in Meknes. I have a nice room with an electrical outlet at an almost acceptable price (70 Dirham/ night), I can tease the squeaky birds outside my window, there is a cheap internet café really close by, and I have been able to procure good, cheap food. I just need to find a French tutor for a few days and I will be all set.

I tried to find a French tutor yesterday and went around to some language schools to find out what they had to offer. One school was not really willing to accommodate my travelling schedule: they said that I could not begin instruction until October- I want to be on the road out of Meknes by then. So I went to the American Language Center down the street. I walked up a dark stairwell and into a room full of men and women who appeared to be having a meeting about something.

“Is this the American Language Center?” I asked. Nobody understood me. So I tried in Spanish. Again, nobody understood me. Eventually, I learned that I was in fact at the American Language Center, but nobody there spoke English or Spanish. So I pantomimed what I wanted- a French tutor- and was actually able to get my point across. I exchanged phone numbers with a teacher and was on my way. I just had to wonder:

How can a place called the American Language Center not have anyone who is able to speak either of the two main languages of the Americas? What do they teach? I could not answer this question.

Erik gave me all kinds of flack because of what I wrote about him a couple of days ago. “You wrote everything good about Stubbs,” he said. It is kind of interesting for me to think that the rambles that I write could possibly have an effect on someone. I think that I live in a bubble. I want to write about my friends because I think that they are funny, but I am taken aback by the fact that they could possibly take what I write too seriously. If I spoke to them I could say anything and they would take it worth a grain of salt and just laugh at me. But now that it is written, does that mean that it is all of a sudden for real? That it is permanent? That I am serious? Well, for the record, I am laughing as I write just about everything on here (well, maybe except for the “how to” logistical stuff). The last thing that I ever want is to be taken seriously. What kind of sad fate would that be?

So, as my old friend Ethan once said to a gang of frat boys at a party who did not understand our humor and wanted to beat us up:

“Some of my jokes are funny, and some of my jokes are not funny.”

I have since used this line to get out of more jams than I can count.

Thanks, Ethan!

But the only thing my Mom wants me to do is to take myself seriously. She takes me seriously. The following are excerpts from a message that I received from her this morning:

“So if I were you I would not put it down and if anything build it up so that people who go to your blog will see you as a true professional and take you seriously and know that you must know what you are talking about . . . Think about it, most people will believe what ever you tell them. . . most people will think it is impressive and before you know it you are a true professional on travel and many people and maybe even companies will refer to you. If this is what you want you may want talk professional in your blog so that all can refer to you (Aldults, children, seniors, schools, and even corporations). Eventually you could be a well known professional and reference on travel and probably will be much more well known than your friend Andy. Who knows you could become a famous reporter on travel and be on TV or write articles in well known magazines and papers. So a word to the wise never put yourself or what you do down and always build what you do and yourself up.”

Thanks, Mom!

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Filed under: Africa, Friends, Humor, Morocco, Travel Philosophy

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3134 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Zhushan Village, Kinmen, TaiwanMap