Friday, April 23, 2010


the first stop on our Moroccan journey
a charming beach town 
named assilah

looking back,
we realize we did it just right.
fresh off the plane we jumped into a taxi
(after bartering for the price of course)
and headed down the coast

windows cracked open
taxi weaving in between lanes
a dirty dusty landscape rolling by outside
the blue of the sea peeking in now and again

assilah was quiet 
in a way the rest of morocco was not
the lilt of spanish echoed across the streets
arabic thrown in for exclamations

assilah eased us in to morocco
just the right amount of overwhelming

i've never been to greece
but i'd like to think it looks something similar
painted doors
white walls
colorful flowerpots and murals

we heard our first call to prayer
within the city walls
the medina
a mystifying melody
at once romantic and eerie

we tasted our first mint tea
'berber whiskey' 
as it became known later on
perhaps since alcohol is frowned upon
they add sugar and hope for a similar effect

tea so minty you feel like you brushed your teeth
and then counteracted it by drinking a syrup so sweet
you can almost crunch the sugar crystals

assilah was also unique because of one specific thing
an unexpected magnifying glass view into the culture

a select few of you
have heard the story of my indian massage
a few summers ago
the awkward sort of experience
you can only laugh at afterwards
the one you'll tell over and over
around a summer campfire
laughing until your belly hurts

well, two of my girlfriends and i 
decided to jump in to a similar experience
a moroccan 'hammam' 
a spa, or bath

level of surprise to find myself among not-very-dressed moroccan women = high
level of unease to find myself among not-very-dressed moroccan women = even higher
willingness to embrace the experience = just high enough
pain factor having 2 layers of my skin scrubbed off = too high
having skin as soft as the day i was born afterwards = pretty worth it
experiencing moroccan tradition and daily life in a way i never imagined = certainly worth it

i think
the fact that the massage and body scrub
didn't involve red gooey ayurvedic massage oil
and a linoleum table
may have helped my experience
though don't get me wrong 
there are still awkward moments to be had when being
washed, massaged, and scrubbed 
by a sizable moroccan woman

but somewhere in the middle
i just decided to go with it
at the very least
i could add it to my collection of foreign country massage stories
another campfire tale
to be told

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food for thought.

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