Tuesday, June 8, 2021

A Memory of Marrakesh


Happy milestone birthday to my dear dear friend, Kara @karhazel .  This trip in 2002 remains one of my top memories. This was mid-way through our girl’s trip to Spain and Morocco.  Here we are on the Mediterranean Sea between Marbella and Rabat.  I have fun memories of clubbing the night away at the discotheque in Madrid and driving down through Sevilla to the Southern coast of Spain.  

We were busy “almost 30-something” professionals working hard in NYC but also taking plenty of time to enjoy ourselves.  We planned this trip just a year after living through 9/11 in NYC. We didn’t think we were invincible but we also felt there was a world at our finger tips to explore.   As we traveled on the ferry to Rabat, I remember a gorgeous woman in the restroom that asked if she could borrow my bright red lip coloring.  She was wearing a hijab and yet she still took pride In her perfectly stained lips that only she would appreciate.  

 We arrived in Rabat and visited Amy’s home and school she’d attended In childhood during a few years living of abroad with her family (we’d learned years previously that a "State Department" employee from Northern Virginia was code word for “C.I.A.”).   The coastline was like none I’d ever seen.  It was eye opening to walk into a rest stop along our journey and be the only women at the stop (and then we realized the bathrooms were coed and included literal holes in the dirt ground where we were to squat). 

Our experience with the people in Morooco still resonates with me.  Everyone we encountered was very friendly (thinking we were British) and even more sympathetic and warm upon realizing we were actually from NYC.  I’ll never forget the University student who was studying English and earning money while driving a taxi… we were so lost and a bit forlorn because we couldn’t locate our Riad.  This gentleman graciously showed us where to safely park our car and then he led us down maze walkways and alley ways.  We had to put our full trust in him and, along the way, he learned we lived In NYC and he unabashedly apologized to us for what happened on 9/11.  He delivered us to this great castle door and when it opened… it revealed the most amazing oasis of a Riad… owned by a Scandinavian couple who decided to open a beautiful destination for guests In Mirrakesh. Our room was adorned with the most stunning and vibrant textiles I’ve ever seen. The windows had no actual panes in them; animals and insects and people could climb through them if desired and yet I felt the most safe and serene I had felt in a very long time. There was a staircase that led to an unmarked door in our suite. There were candle lights on every stair to set a warm glowing ambience (and probably prevent us from walking up the stairs to the doorway). Of course we had to explore. As we opened the door at the top of the stairs we found ourselves on top of a rooftop. We were overlooking the entire medina in Marrakesh. We saw lights and sunsets and gorgeous colors.  We drank a bottle of wine and took in the landscape.   I could continue on about the millions of laughs we encountered while trying to have Kara take the perfect photo of Amy and me, before iphones and selfies… (kara we are lucky you still speak to us).  But honestly ladies, this wasn’t just a trip of the year or the travel of the century. This was a life-changing journey that we embarked on in our late 20s. It literally was life altering. And I am so happy that I shared this adventure with you women. Kara I’m so sorry I couldn’t be in Arizona with you this weekend to celebrate your 50th.  You ladies truly hold a special place In my heart.   Kara, you are one of the strongest and most “beautifulest”  people I know.  Happy birthday to you my beautiful friend.

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