Since I share the wonders of life on the road, I feel it’s only fair to post when there are bad days as well.
Today wasn’t great.
Last night, I watched a movie that triggered my PTSD and had a very, very hard time getting my adrenaline levels back to normal. This morning after breakfast, I was still feeling a little shaky, signs of an adrenaline hangover.
But the sun was shining, and I was in Tangiers, so I went out to explore the city. I didn’t encounter any harassment, but every few steps I felt like someone was aggressively pushing at me. Maybe I felt that way because of the adrenaline hangover, or maybe it was really intense because it’s Saturday. No, I don’t need to be guided to the Casbah. No, I don’t want to look in your shop. No, I’m not going to the market. No, I don’t want to sit in your cafe. No. No. No. At one point, some boys simply refused to stop walking with me and asking for money to take me places, until I told them firmly “NO!” and reversed my direction completely. After a while, I just kept my eyes down and ignored everyone. I felt rude, but I was also beginning to feel annoyed. And triggered.
I made my way to the harbor, where I found a secluded space next to a cannon on the city wall. Sun was shining, sky blue, and the mountains of Spain shimmering across the sparkling Mediterranean. There weren’t many people, just the occasonal pair of men strolling by, talking quietly in Arabic. I sat cross-legged on the wall and opened my Kindle.
A young man in a white galabeya stood nearby. I recognized him — he’d offered to guide me to the Casbah a few minutes ago. After a few minutes, he tried to get my attention and said something I couldn’t hear. I shook my head NO, quite rudely and firmly, and kept reading. He looked like he was going to leave, but then took a tentative step closer and said something again. I didn’t even look up, just shook my head. Again, he seemed like he wanted to leave, but instead he came closer and looked around surreptitiously.
“Mafia,” he said, this time loudly enough for me to hear.
“Mafia.” He moved his finger in a circle to indicate the area where I was sitting.
Oh. White girl sitting in the Moroccan Mafia’s turf is not cool at all. I decided I should probably move along. The young man made no move to follow me, guide me, or ask for cash, so I have to assume he was sincerely looking after my welfare. Now I felt terrible for being rude to him.
That was it for me.
I bought some oranges and bananas on my way back to the hotel (Moroccan oranges are just about the most delectable thing on the planet, btw) and shut myself in my room to work for the rest of the day. On the way home, i even thought about leaving Tangier early, going on to Chefchaoen. Tangier is a port city, rougher around the edges than most cities in Morocco (except maybe Casablanca). But I’m only here a few more days, and really the city has been nice to me. It’s me that’s roughed up today, not Tangier (except for that Mafia thing, that’s messed up.)
I’ll hide out and get some work done, go see Ismael at dinnertime, and try again to get out tomorrow.