Location: Marina Smir
Yesterday was pretty hectic. Everyone is a tad under-slept, and lingering midterm papers are being hurled at us, clinging like angry squid. The bustling Medina of Tetouan was so different from what we’ve been experiencing, definitely a lot to observe and digest. I believe “culture shock” is the term. The rapidly spreading inkblot of Western Culture hasn’t done much to Tetouan beyond staining the surface. Coca Cola signs hang in kiosk openings, merchants shout “hey, man!” to get attention from tourists, and the bright red of empty Marlboro packs along the walkways reminds you that Western Culture has made its way there. Still, beneath the stained cover page, the old culture of Morocco is alive and well. The way of life is completely alien to Western Eyes. People live in tunnel-like complexes, work all day in shops (that were probably built long before America was even colonized by Europeans) the size of refrigerator boxes, hand cutting and stitching leather from the tannery next door to make ends meet. If you want a chicken to eat, you walk two minutes to the chicken shop and pick one to have killed. Tetouan felt more authentic than the other places we’ve explored in that way. It was also slightly uncanny to witness artifacts of Western Culture in a place so detached from it. Generally, it was a draining day, in the most profound, positive sense of the word. Thus, a day like today was much needed. We didn’t do much; we hung around Argo all day, we wrote our essays and had our classes, and it kind of felt like being underway while at the dock. A scrappy street creature (a dog) attempted to make friends with us before the harbormaster chased it off, and many people were assailed by feral cat families while writing their essays at cafes. This pleased me a great deal. Tomorrow, we set sail for Agadir to witness many wonders, such as the Grand Bazaar! Apparently the passages are getting longer now, and I for one am super ready. Things feel so real underway. Time flies. Wow. It’s almost Halloween. Last year at Almost-Halloween, I was in a dorm room, probably trying to sleep through my roommate’s 24-hour ritualistic watching of the show Sons of Anarchy at seismic levels of volume. I was probably bored. I actually just laughed imagining how I’d react back then if I knew that in 365 days, I’d be here in Morocco typing a blog, and about to run up on deck to help stow some dock-lines in. It’s easy to get overwhelmed on Argo and take things as they come; allow yourself to lose track of time, and kind of prevent yourself from allowing the surreality of this journey to sink in. When you’re made aware of it through reflection, it can be kind of scary. We’re doing something truly incredible out here, something we’ll never forget. At this point, it’s hard to imagine leaving Argo and never coming back. The memories being formed are just too crazy. Well, bye-bye for now. If you’re reading this and have used a toilet with a standard flush-mechanism today, please open the tank and say “thank you” to the mechanism for me. You never really know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone.
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