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These Days in Meknes

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These Days in Meknes
Meknes, Morocco
September 24, 2007
Homepage: http://canciondelvagabundo.googlepages.com/
North Africa page: http://canciondelvagabundo.googlepages.com/northafrica

These Meknes days have been relaxing to say the least:

I wake up casually in the morning
Do a little writing or reading
Eat a little breakfast
Put my clothes on
Walk a few meters to the internet parlor
Work for three to five hours
Walk a few meters back to the hotel
Eat a little dinner
Do a little writing or reading
Casually go to sleep

This is a ridiculously simple way to live. Good thing that I am only going to keep this up for a few more days. Then I think that I will go off into the mountains for a week or so and use the www.couchsurfing.com database (my username is Canciondelvagabundo if any of you want to add me as a friend) to find some Moroccan families to stay with.

Staying in people’s homes while travelling has been both a rewarding and frustrating experience for me. Unless I was writing an ethnography, and therefore “at work” all the time, I do not think that I would want to live in a home-stay environment for more than a few days at a time. But staying with families has also provided me with great insights into what goes on “behind closed doors” that have been extremely interesting. But over eight years of travels has taught me that all cultures are the same and the things that go on “behind closed doors” is usually always the same no matter where in the world you lay your head. Though I say this not to detract from the special interest that is inherent to getting into a culture, but rather as a statement to the fact that human culture is far more homogenous than we are led to believe. But the real joy of staying with families while travelling is being privy to the stories that live and breath behind every closed door on this planet- I want to hear them all.

This is one of the great affairs of travelling: the stories and tales that you are privileged to hear on every corner of the globe. You kind of collect them as you move along. Then, when the mood is right, and you are with a paltry bunch of fellow road-dogs on a moon lit night, you pull them out to share one- by- one. The other travellers do the same and you end up in the midst of a great exchange of tales, yarns, and bad jokes that were gathered and collected from around the world and swapped like trading cards. It makes us all a little richer.

So I have been working away at this website project with great diligence- hours and hours every day- and I think that it may be coming together a little. I now average 26 visitors a day. Haha, I am such a small fish. But I have the resolve to keep going and, like we are raised to believe in America: I think that I can do anything, that everything is fixable, that anything can be how I imagine it, and hard work pays off. This is perhaps one of the greatest lies of our age, but I still believe it none the less.

This takes me to talking about another old friend, Marie Trigona, who seems to believe that there is a solution to all problems. I was on MSN Messenger yesterday and a window popped up in the right hand corner of my screen that said, “Marie.” I quickly clicked on this name, as I have not had any communication with her for a couple of years. She is an American journalist who has been working in Buenos Aires ever since the political eruptions at the beginning of this decade.

I saw her for the first time in 2002 at Chicago- Ohare. We were on the same flight and were waiting to board the plane. She walked by me and had one little dreadlock that was sticking up out of the top of her head. I could not stop looking at this curious little dreadlock. On the flight my seat was behind her’s, and I got to stare at this little dreadlock for the entire flight to Miami.

Once in Miami I saw the curious little dreadlock sitting on a seat in the terminal. I decided that I was going to introduce myself to it. So I went to sit down on the seat behind its owner (the seats were arranged in a back to back fashion) and she began talking to me. This startled me and totally usurped my plans for how I was going to break the ice.

She was a radical journalist.

I was a radical nothing.

So we chatted and became pen pals- a correspondence that we kept up for around three years; until I realized that the world isn’t so horrible after all and we quickly ran out of things to write about.

Well, she is still in Buenos Aires fighting the system, downing the man, and writing magazine articles to prove it to the entire world. It is amazing to me that she has been able to keep her stamina up to do this for so long. She is still fighting the same fight that she was all those years ago when I was mystified by that little dreadlock in an airport. It is commendable. I went to her blog : and could hardly read through the first article it was so depressing. I do not know how anyone could have the strength to face a world like that day after day. She remains hopeful though, which fills me with awe.

I have come to learn that struggle only breads more struggle and fighting only breeds more fighting.

If you like fighting then by all means fight the state (it is probably the most worthy thing to fight).

But I have found it way more practical (and enjoyable) to ignore it. To try not to smash through brick walls, but to just let them crumble of their own volition. Anybody can let these walls crumble, you just have to turn your back to them.

Turn your back for a second, peak over your shoulder, and the walls are gone.

I once heard someone say that the state has no natural defenses against people who just walk away from it. I believe this to be true.

It is my impression that Governments grow stronger proportionate to their opposition. That is the game.

Fighting the law only makes more laws.

The countercultural uprisings of the 60’s and early 00’s just left us with the police state that the United States is today.

Throw a brick at the wall and it is just reinforced with more mortar.

These are my impressions based upon my experience. My experience is all that I know.

Marie may never talk to me again for writing this.

I wish her the best in her struggle. She is one of those amazing people that you met every now and then On the Road. I do not mean to undercut or degrade what she does. To the contrary, I am amazed by it. She made a place for herself in this world; she has solidified her mark. Marie is the kind of person who leaves statues and monuments in their wake.

I have found that I laugh too much to leave behind a monument. It would simply look too funny.

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Filed under: Africa, Friends, 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 76 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 3053 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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