I stupidly read all of, The Lonely Plant’s Guide to Marrakech, fear mongering warnings in the back of the book outloud to Sarah, my travel buddy, as we landed in Marrakech. The plane rumbled hitting the ground, and after 24 hours of travelling, delusion and anxiety began to set-in. Sarah had been preaching all these fears for weeks, and I had been blissfully ignoring her. Coverup, beware of young male “guides,” tourist traps and never go out alone, the book read. This was Sarah’s first time out of the country and the first time she’s ever left her daughter for more than a night.
Sarah and I met two years ago when I was starting my business. The restaurant I was working for demanded that my swoop bang be clipped-up. The thing is that I have an unnaturally large 5-head and hate going anywhere with my bangs clipped, let alone work! So, I compromised with the sirly restaurant owner's son to let me get a straight across cut. Sarah and her business partner own a small salon that was literally two inches from my walk-up in Grass Valley. I’m not sure if it’s because she’s an artist, a loud italian like me or if it’s because she’s a single mom but we immediately clicked. Hairdressers like bartenders run on a different currency than the rest of us. They are deeply aware of the human condition, acutely patient and amazing listeners. She’s an empathic soul and very insightful. Two years later we found ourselves on a plane to Africa.
There are places in this world where the palette changes. The colors in Marrakech drastically shifted as if they were deep in the desert of a southwest sunset. Pinks fell across the skies like sand dust. The buildings stood tall and compounded together like blocks of mud. The city was bursting with energy that pulsed to an old world hum. The streets were narrow, filled with unnamed motorists swirling in and around one another like a dance. Scaffolding and dust filled the air. It took us an hour to find our driver, he drove us deep into the unfamiliar old city. We traversed the cobbled streets in shock as bicyclists sped past us, men spoke loudly and adamantly about our beauty, women alongside other women in long dresses and headscarves strolled along clutching bags linked in one another's arms like sisters.
Forward, right, left, right again….left between two buildings so close together an American football player would have to shimmy through while staring up at the vast pink walls and starkly contrasting line of blue sky with a sprinkling of clouds.
“Todo,” we weren’t California anymore.