Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 38: Tangerines

Another very quick post on a borrowed computer...

Chaos isn't always such a bad thing. A rough and stormy crossing - bracing - across the Straits and the plans I had to meet with the brother of a friend for a few days of rest failed to execute. Props for the young Polish travelers who let me borrow their I-Pad and mobile phone anyway in the attempt to make contact. No worse for the wear, I made it to noisy and congested city center on my own and shortly after early darkness (slipping an hour across a time zone change again) found a French priest for the requisite stamp in my credenziale and assistance with lodging. Persistance is a blessing in such times, but all really is well that ends well.

As it happens, I've arrived in this Islamic land just in time for the killing-of-the-sheep festival. The weekend is pretty well devoted to the preparations. The actual ritual slaughter of the animals today being bought and sold on street corners is to happen tomorrow (Monday). Hemming and hawing all day about whether to continue on my way or stay an extra day in the Sparten pied-de-terre next to the church, I've concluded that to continue is the best thing to do... everything will be closed for the next two days because of the festival and there wouldn't be much for me to do in the cosmopolitan city.

The flip side to the decision is that it's often difficult to find people in a position to accommodate a pilgrim on a big holiday. I haven't walked on Christmas day for these last few years for this reason. Onward, though, is the right thing to do in this circumstance, so determined after many consultations with both some Tangerines I've met and many members of the thriving expat community... on a Sunday abroad, the local Anglican church in any big city is the place to find savvy English speakers.

Tomorrow, bright and early - assuming the rain dissipates overnight - I'll continue eastward to once again shout out 'catch me!' as I confidently fall back into the arms of humanity with the expectation that someone interesting will help me on my stroll. A stamp in my book, a place to sleep, and guidance on the next day's journey... As my French creeps back in and the Spanish takes a seat further back in my crammed head, I've been informed with nods of sympathy that I shouldn't expect farmers and villagers of the countryside to speak anything but Arabic... time to get out the cheat sheet I made and polish a few sentences by tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

Good networking.

Please use this Tanger/Anglican opportunity to ask about the Moroccan-Algerian border.

I think you are changing my thinking on pilgrimage/long distance walking, towards a simpler foot forward, which has been coming for a while.

Enjoy that couscous!

ksam said...

Good luck!! Wow..couldn't find how to say that in Arabic on Bablefish!!

Mony said...

If it´s of any help, the words "al-salam-alayku¨" will get you very far in the Arab world. It's the typical greeting. If there are any other words you'd like to know, I can try to help. I'm Lebanese, so can dangerously manage a few words! Buen camino, pilgrim...

Amy R said...

Oh wow! You're in Africa!!!!!

I just read about a "blessed" to help you on your way:

Bl. Ramon Lull of Majorca (Mallorca) of the 1200s and early 1300s. Fluent in Arabic, he went to Tunis three times...the last time was when he was 83.

I'll ask him to help you.

Sheila Phelan Wright said...

Been thinking about you, knowing these holy days and the hajj will be/are happening. I love the fact that you, solo Winter Pilgrim, are in a Muslim area as the pilgrimage to Mecca is beginning. Here's to the spirit of all pilgrims.

Anonymous said...

WHAT AN AMAZING JOURNEY you embarked always, Z Bohom!
Love the humor of the wardrobe malfunction! No one offered a needle and thread? Buen camino or
Bom Caminho (in Portuguese). Ate logo...our Ukie groups sends you best wishes! Nadja