I’m back to the cold-weather of Montreal. But not for long, as I get ready for a really exciting adventure: Egypt, the Pyramids, a boat-ride down the Nile. Another adventure.
While everybody is shivering in the cold here recovering from the most recent storm, I went out for a haircut. Rather, a shave, getting ready for the hot and dry weather of another distant world. Another chapter in my seemingly strange existence.
My new barber is from Morocco, which is what brought me to tell the story of my visit to his country a few years ago. I was alone in Morocco, visiting Casablanca, Rabat and the beautiful Marrakesh, where it was 49 degrees as the sun’s rays pounded over the Atlas mountain range.
The story began just as I had just arrived in Casa, as they call Casablanca. I mustn’t have been far from the majestic Hassan II Mosque when I met a young woman, her name may have been Fatima. She wore glasses, and had a dark complexion and jet-black hair. She was a little bit awkward; it was a kind of a gentle awkwardness that was rather appealing. We started walking around the city. I told her that I was going out to Rabat, and volunteered to show me around. So we spent a whole day together and I even wish that I had noted my conversation with her in greater details. As the day wore on, she became far less awkward. She was charming, had an ironic sense of humor. I was weary of her, and such situations, but was curious enough to get to know her.
She showed me the souq, or ancient market in Rabat, and we even went to a beach where I plunged in the water as she waited patiently, fully clothed under an umbrella. We sat for a drink, talked and walked. We laughed as a boy tried hopelessly to control two camels simultaneously. We then sat on a bench when she suddenly suggested that I should marry her. I was taken aback, as I am sure most would have been. After all how was it that after a few lazy hours this would come to her mind.
– No, I said, I don’t think so.
– Why, she asked?
– Well, first of all, I’m not in love with you, I said.
– That is no problem you can take an other wife too, she said.
So this is the way the conversation went. It was all fun, in good humour, but I’m sure that she was serious. We continued to walk and talk. Of course, she was certainly attracted to a life outside of Morocco. And as we departed that evening from the railway, she told me that if her brother or father knew that we had spent the day together, who knows what would have been the result. I realized that girl was spunky.
That brings me back to my barber. Well, he said that Fatima’s escapade just goes to show how honest Moroccan women are. She put it all up-front, she was honest. Fatime emailed me a few times in the months after our meeting, after which I immersed myself in the buzzing life of Budapest. And what became of Fatima? What became of Fatima?