I allowed myself enough time to have breakfast at my hotel before being picked up to go to Chefchaouen. When in Morocco, you never want to miss breakfast because the presentation is beautiful. But then again, every meal is beautiful. And delicious! I sat at the same lounge and same chair where I chatted the prior night away, but this time the view was much more beautiful since the morning sun and the blue ocean made me smile inside and out. While I was lost in a quiet contemplation over the blessings in my life, a blue tray arrived with a silver teapot caressed by an embroidered white linen around the handle (a signature Moroccan presentation), a bowl of fresh berries, fresh squeezed orange juice, an assortment of small pastries and breads, a little pancake-like sweetness, and five ramekins offering different kinds of jams and butter. Of course, everything was so pretty I had to Instagram it.
I wanted to linger a little longer over my breakfast but my driver was waiting for me downstairs. His name was Chawne. His English wasn’t that great so I was glad when he made a phone call to hire my guide that would take me through Chefchaouen. Luckily, the car radio was tuned to an American pop station, and although the reception was terrible, Chawne and I bonded over our love of music. Surprisingly, he knew the words to many of the songs playing on the radio. As I travel the world, the fact that I hear American pop music in every city somehow surprises me. As two strangers were comforted by the universal language of music, time flew by, and all of a sudden, although it was over two hours later, we were approaching the Blue City.
The sight surprised me. A whole city seemed to be perched upon the sky while we were driving toward it. Situated on the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is much bigger than I thought. After picking up my tour guide we headed toward the entrance. The sun felt fantastic against my skin, and I was thankful so that I could take good pictures. Then all of a sudden my guide thought it would be fun (for him, maybe) to have me pose with a peacock while having the local costume and hat thrown on me. I don’t know what it is about Morocco and posing with monkeys, snakes, and now, a peacock, but whatever.
Unfortunately, I didn’t really like my tour guide since his English was kind of difficult to understand. This is kind of unfair, I know, and I felt bad about it. But after seeing him be so kind to so many kids during my tour, I changed my mind about him. He would buy the kids sweets and pat them on the head as well as talk to them with a smile. They all seemed to know him well. So I sucked up my Western attitude and allowed myself to be led by him through the blue portals to heaven.
The endless shades of blue of Chefchaouen on a beautiful sunny day is a sight to behold. There are two theories on why the entire town is painted blue. One is that it keeps the mosquitos away. The other is that it reflects the colors of the sky and heaven. As my guide and I walked, my camera ready, the morning sun filtered through the quiet pathways of the heaven of blues. I heard the sound of children playing, saw the meandering of stray cats, witnessed the alluring colors of the markets with their exotic carpets hanging against the walls, and I wondered how it was possible to fall more in love with the beauty, discovery, and wonders of travel. With this thought I am reminded of the Sirens in Greek mythology. The Sirens lured the nearby sailors with their voices and intoxicating music to shipwreck the sailors. And as for me I must give in to the seduction of all my senses while I travel because it makes me feel SO alive! I feel scared at times that maybe one day my luck would run out, and maybe, just maybe, I would be in danger for my life. But until then, I will gladly yield to all my sensory experiences while I travel, and I will allow myself to fall deeper and deeper in love with the world.
When it was time to ride back, I wasn’t sad like I usually am when leaving a place because I had a dinner date with the man I met from the previous night. The ride back seemed more pleasant as well as shorter than the ride there. The driver and I were used to each other, and he felt so comfortable belting out the songs on the radio although he didn’t know all the words. But then again, this seemed no different than most people when singing songs out loud. After laughing I told Chawne that if everyone in the world sang out loud to one another, we would not have any wars in the world. He absolutely agreed.
While driving toward my hotel through the medina, I was amazed how my trip to Chefchaouen happened at all. I had no concrete plans of actually going there as it was merely a thought. I only read about the city as well as seen the shades of blue on Instagram. But just like with all the other trips in my life, crazy good things happen to me and for me. How is it possible that just the day before when getting off the ferry a man was there at the right time taking me to my hotel for $5 Euros? In a pastel colored Mercedes no less! And how is it possible that a guy named Mohamed Ali was waiting at the hotel so he could take my 50 lbs of luggage up the spiral steps to my hotel doorstep? And how amazing is it that I met a man the night prior who would take me out to dinner the next day followed by some belly dancing? As often is the case when I think back on all the trips in my life, I am left speechless. Were my adventures real or were they just dreams?
Back in my hotel room after a day of seeing the most heavenly shades of blue I wondered…am I crazy for going out to dinner with a man I just met? In Tangier of all places? As we didn’t set a time when we said goodbye the night before, I wondered if I would even see him at all that night. But then, was any of this real? When I checked my phone from the room, finally having a wifi connection, he sent a message hours earlier asking me to come to his office around 5 pm and that we could watch the sunset on the beach before going to dinner. Maybe my adventure and good fortune would come to a screeching halt as it was almost 6:30 when I read his text. I would find out more by calling him. And just like that the Gods favored me again. I would meet him for drinks first, he said, at a bar near my hotel. It looks like my night would get interesting after all…