Chefchaouen is one of the prettiest small towns I’ve ever had the pleasure of spending time in. I sit in a small square and gaze at the sunlight splattered blue walls, listen to the murmurs of Arabic as pointed hooded men pass and well bundled older women pass and younger women pass their heels clopping on the cobblestones. An old woman passes carrying two bundles of live chickens contained in plastic bags and a braid of onions. The wind whisks down off the mountain, and all the merchandise in the square comes to life. Two skinny young men in black leather jackets and droopy jeans balance platters of aromatic baked goods past me. I spot a cat watching me from a shadowy hangout. He twitches his tail in annoyance over being discovered. “Hello friend” I hear, and without thinking I glance over. “So you are American!” he exclaims, “I have a wife in Chicago.” I compliment him on his astuteness, twitch my tail in annoyance and move on.
Arrhythmia slows me down today. I had three mint teas yesterday, and they are loaded with sugar. Boy were they good though. Today I take my mint tea “sans sucre”.
I now have a 3G USB stick for my laptop so I can upload my posts without wifi. It costs $17 for one month, a good deal. I go to Marco Telecom, and get a data card for my iPhone as well, another $17 for a month. Now I can check email, but most importantly, look at google maps on the fly. Two frustrations abated.
I wander the market, buying a handful of figs here, a cup of peanuts there, two cookies, a pastry, a half cup of dates, four oranges, a glass of orange juice, a package of crackers, three bananas. I’m practicing.
Dinner is a satisfying flavorful chicken vegetable cous/cous at the same place I ate last night. The black and white cat spots me and hops on my lap. The 4 year old owners son spots the cat and hops up on the bench besides me. I show him how to pet cat ears. He speaks Arabic rapidly and expressively and I agree in English. He pauses quizzically knowing something is different but builds up speed again and soon we are chatting comfortably about who knows what. He is adorably bundled in a fluffy nylon jacket and topped with a colorful beanie.
I feel comfortable here now.
Layers of color and light.
Chefchaouen from across the river.
The many cats go about their business.
Mom’s pride and joy.
Everything feels a little off kilter.
The main square where I enjoy dinners.