Tuesday, November 25, 2008

 

My mattress - after being left in the sun to minimize the mildewy smell, after getting a featherbed to make it softer than a concrete slab and a down comforter since the sleeping bag kept moving around inside the duvet cover and I ended up being under only two thin layers of sheet and feeling cold, after getting a hot water bottle for my bottom half in addition to the one I had brought with me for my top half - ended up being a cozy bed, and I slept well my last night in it. Woke up and stripped the linens, went to the hammam, disconnected the phone and internet. Kathy and Anna came over and ate most of the brownies and no-bake cookies I still had - I had made them just to use up the ingredients and didn't see how they'd all get eaten, but the hikers and Sunday visitors ate a lot, I brought some to my farewell lunches, and I stashed some to bring to Rabat. Brian came over, Colin came over - everything moved out smoothly. Kathy and I went to Bilal for coffee and watched the world go by, and then went to Abdou's and had (not tuna, not chicken) some bisara. I had shed tears at farewells all week (only with Moroccans - I feel I'll be able to keep in touch with other PCVs, though of course I will miss them) and still had a few on Sunday, but was mostly composed. Colin met us back at my house and he and Kathy walked me to the taxi stand. Not long ago, or so it seems, I walked Lee to the bus station. And wasn't it just yesterday that we had coffee with Katie before she got on the CTM? Two taxis refused me - my stuff was going to fill the trunk - but the third would take me to Meknes provided I paid double. Through town we went, along the big street that I walked up and down so many times from the very beginning, and then we climbed up - the curve around to Meknes allows for a panoramic view of the valley with its fields, the sprawl of Azrou and the mountains behind it, and then it climbs up and leaves Azrou behind.

The road then levels out and goes through rocky grazing land (some is cleared for fields but it's mostly rocky) with some replanted trees. A vista opens up to the left, for Paysage Ito (where a local Berber woman came through in protest of the French protectorate) and then the road goes through the provincial capital of El Hajeb, with its clean streets and big government buildings giving way to an older, more medina-like part of town. The road then drops into the vineyards - I always smile as I pass them, thinking of my past - and then goes through the town of Boufekrane, where there are huge slabs of meat hanging - passersby can have it grilled on the spot.

For good measure, the road to Timhadite - it also climbs up out of Azrou, into the cedar forest, and sometimes you can see monkeys along the side of the road. Then it too levels out into a deforested area - meadows of grazing sheep and some volcanic cones, including the little mountain with a few trees on it that Rose thought was so sad. The plateau above Timhadite, with its crown on top, comes into view, and the town lines both sides of the road, which then goes on to Errachidia and the desert. The road to Fes climbs up past some fields, houses, and auberges and then goes through the forest. It levels off into yet another rocky plateau and then Ifrane comes into view, followed by more rocky plains and then Immouzer, with a town center always milling with people - a reminder of those three days of consolidation. Ifrane and Immouzer have tree-lined streets, unlike most of the rest of Morocco. The terraced-hillside view from the top at Immouzer always reminds me of Tuscany, and then the road drops into the valley, with a long, flat stretch to Fes in the distance. From Azrou to Ain Leuh the road is flat - past fields and small towns, with the mountains in the background, and then it turns and climbs up one of the mountains to the town itself. All of these routes I know so well....

My suitcase closed fine, but was really heavy, and I started to fret about how I am going to manage everything. Maybe it would have been easier to just go home. Or go to Europe and rent a car and put all of the stuff in it and drive. Or go on a cruise and keep the steamer-trunk-sized bag in one place. I managed the transfer from the Meknes taxi to the Rabat taxi without too much difficulty, and paid for two seats to Rabat (I was prepared for double after the Azrou taxi, but they wanted only 10 dh more for the big bag, so I paid double and got the whole front seat). The walk from the taxi stand to the Velleda was tough though, and when I arrived I just sat there (Janeila was in the room and she was great, leaving me be but providing support), wondering what to do. I already knew the answer - jettison more stuff - but I was not ready to do it. I had a quick bite to eat and played some rummy with Rose and Jong, not quite believing that we're not just here for some conference or medicals, going back to our sites in a couple of days, and will be back in Rabat again in another six months or so.

Monday morning we got to the Peace Corps early and had our TB tests - we have to come back Wednesday morning to have them read, have other medical checkout (insurance signup, vouchers for any procedures in the states) and turn in all of the paperwork, and then there's a little tea for us Wednesday morning, and we're done. Lots of signatures are required - program staff to say we turned in our DOS, filled out the on-line COS survey and don't owe anything to our landlord, utilities or counterpart, library to say we returned all books, training manager to say we returned all training materials, GSO to say we returned bike and space heater, Safety and Security officer to say we have our carte de sejour so we can leave the country, Country Director to say we had exit interviews, grant coordinators to say we completed our grants (in my case N/A) and more. I got some signatures yesterday morning but there was a pileup of people and a range of emotions - it seemed disorganized and somehow Peace Corps seemed unprepared (or maybe the PCVs seemed unprepared - we didn't get exact instructions, and we're so used to being told exactly what to do). Plus, there was a staff meeting so many of the people we needed were unavailable, so when Janeila suggested we go to the lab, I went with her - we dropped off our Mif kits and had blood drawn. Then back to the room - she wrote some postcards while I went through the suitcase, and I found another post-office-box-worth of stuff to send to the states and a bag of stuff to leave in the Peace Corps swap box. On the fence is the white noise machine - I sleep better with it, but it's heavy. Janeila came with me to the post office and a literal and figurative weight came off. We had lunch, and then Jong, Rose and I played more rummy. Everything checked out at the eye doctor (still need an operation and new glasses when I get home) and I had dinner at the French Institute with Bob and Linda.

My computer crashed last night - add this to the living room light, hot water heater, broken zippers on my bags, oven handle falling off; I'm convinced djinns are sad that I'm leaving or helping me leave. I was counting on traveling with the computer, to blog, compose emails and save photos, but was surprisingly unpanicked - maybe a sign I should further lighten my load and send it home too? Nothing - blank screen when I booted it up, followed by a question mark. No recognition of any hard drive or applications. I brought it to the IT person at Peace Corps this morning to see if there was a way to revive it and when he booted it up, it was as good as new. So maybe it was just a reminder that I can let go of anything and it's all right. At this point I still think it would be nice to travel with it, but part of me wants to shed the weight and send it. It's expensive to send though, and I think I'll be happy I have it. Still thinking about it though.

I never made it back to the Peace Corps office yesterday, but it was quiet this morning - I was able to get all of the signatures I could get (final medical and admin have to wait until tomorrow) and have nice chats with the the signers, so going to the lab early yesterday was a good move. Everyone - myself included - seemed more loose and happy. I am in the Peace Corps lounge now, but it seems late even though it's not, so I think I will head back and see if there's rummy to be played. It's cold and rainy here in Rabat (I hope it doesn't get colder than this, because I sent yet more cold-weather stuff home and am down to one sweater and a raincoat). I'd like a medina walk this week (I may need one, so that I can leave here with a pocketbook that does not have a broken zipper) but other than that, I think playing cards and spending time with stagemates or even staying in and reading might be nice (I might be almost ready to read the travel books for my trip!) - after a busy agenda and filled days for what seems such a long time now, I feel I might finally be able to relax!

Wednesday morning Postscript - I am an RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer)! No TB, no parasites, insurance signed up for, all signatures and paperwork turned in, and I removed the thumbtack with my face on it from Azrou on the map in the program staff office. Now in the Volunteer Lounge awaiting farewell tea with staff, and then - ?
Another Postscript - I noticed that the Bangkok airport was closed due to protests. This trip may require even more flexibility than I imagined - and the only planned part was the flight to Bangkok! I hope the unrest is quelled by next week, but we'll see....
And another - the farewell tea had a "Stamping Out" ceremony - a book in which you printed and signed your name and then stamped (like a passport stamp - so I took an extra on a piece of paper for my National Parks Passport book!). It was nice. Chicken caesar salad at Ty Potes and chocolate mousse at the French Institute. How do I feel? Not sad, not relieved - maybe satisfied is a good word. And - as many people have said to me and it always somehow surprises me when they do, but now I feel it too - proud.

Comments:
In one of those strange coincidences, I just started watching an episode of My Own Worst Enemy (a new TV show this year), and it opened in Rabat (or at least a fascsimile thereof)!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to tell you how much I've enjoyed reading your blog this last 27 months. I can't believe it went by so quickly! I hope you'll keep writing. Otherwise I'll go through blog-withdrawal! I'm sad to think I won't be reading any more stories of Morocco. But on to new locales and ventures!
 
Thank you (and anyone else) for reading! One thing I have realized is how important writing is to me - I have had pent-up writing demand for perhaps years now and I feel I must continue; whether in blog form or other remains to be seen. I can't believe it went by so quickly either - though my life in Chicago seems far away, also...
 
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
 
Now what? Have been watching events in Thailand. . . I hope they don't throw an entire monkey wrench into the end of the grand adventure!

And we will, indeed, miss the blogging. But it will be good to have you back in person!
 
Well, let's just say that my plans are flexible and may be about to be even more flexible! I am staying tuned but I think tomorrow when I get to Madrid I will see what my options are.

I may keep blogging....but that doesn't mean you have to keep reading. I too think it will be nice to talk in person!
 
This looked like spam at first glance at the Gibraltar internet cafe but now I realize it was not!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/USAID-Providing-1-Million-Support/story.aspx?guid={A0180867-2169-49D5-916E-BBBB20604B6A}

There is a new partnership with MLB and PC.
 
une application destinée à faciliter la localisation et réservation d’un taxi se trouvant dans une même zone que le client qui parfois a du mal à le localiser alors qu’il se trouve à moins d’un bloc de sa position.
Taxi-Diali, comme son nom l’indique clairement, c’est une application bien adaptée à tout téléphone mobile fonctionnant sous le système Android. Une fois téléchargée dans chaque portable, du client et du chauffeur de taxi, elle permet à ce dernier d’être facilement repéré par son client qui cherche patiemment un taxi.
Bien sur, pour le client dès que l’application lui signale la présence d’un taxi ou plusieurs dans la même zone où il se trouve, il aura toute la latitude de choisir et de faire appel à celui qui lui convient le mieux puisque toutes les coordonnées du taxi sont affichées dans son écran. Lorsque le client valide son choix pour tel taxi , le chauffeur du dit taxi peut également identifier la position de l’appelant grâce à la géolocalisation intégrée dans l’application et rappliquer directement à sa position sans qu’il ne lui la donne.
Taxi Diali est un service gratuit qui permet de faire gagner beaucoup de temps et épargner des attentes indéterminées à tous ceux qui sont en déplacement dans une grande ville ou tout simplement à ceux qui veulent pour une raison ou une autre

Find Taxi in Marrakech

 
Post a Comment



<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?