A Welcome Note: On Filling the Gaps

Dear Friends and Family:

Although I haven't added any posts since the summer of 2007, this blog continues to be a warehouse of my thoughts and experiences from my time abroad.


Sunday, March 4, 2007

Morocco: Day Eight

3/2/07 - This morning, we woke up and grabbed breakfast before meeting up with our new young guide who was faithfully waiting outside our hotel to take us to the tannery. Much more cautious than his older, now imprisoned counterpart, our young guide named Mohammed of course walked much farther in front of us and despite his explanations which were more less the same as Abdul’s (perhaps there’s a sixth place on each street we didn’t learn about where young kids learn to be tour guides) took us a very back way where the teeming secret police were unlikely to catch him. At the end of our walk, we had to move off the street and trample over excess fur and skins strewn alongside a narrow canal that passed the tanneries. Unlike the large clusters of British tourists led around by smooth-talking official guides, Mohammed led us through the tanneries themselves; we had to step on bags of animal fluids and jump over vats of urine, feces and dye; we held our breath and couldn’t believe our eyes as we saw the extensive system of pits and waterwheels, littered with skins and color; workers were standing right in the pits and working the leather. We learned that most of these jobs were family jobs and passed on from generation to generation. Finally we arrived at the top of the tanneries, where yellow dyed skins were being dried on the hot flat roofs. As expected, Mohammed had led us to his friend at the cooperative who sold leather goods produced at the tanneries. Holiday and Hannah made a few purchases and when we were done, despite expressing our desire to return via a less putrid route, our guide insisted we take the same trek back to the hotel (to avoid the secret police I suppose). Finally we returned to the hotel and I gave him some of our extra Durham (although he didn’t seem to want it). There we picked up our bags and caught a cab to the Gare (train station) where we caught a train to Tangier. That night we arrived in the city where we started and found a simple hotel by the port where we would be taking the ferry to Spain the next morning. We grabbed a quick dinner by the water and hit the hay.

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