02/15/2012 to Skoura

I didn’t take any pictures today.

I leave the Dades Gorge area and Wojtek this morning. He wants to spend a few days relaxing there, I want to move on.

The cycling is fast and flat through mud villages and open desert for the first 50km or so, then the wind shifts and I fight a headwind for the last 35km.

Along the way I see a roadside restaurant and stop for lunch. There is a western couple taking tea, so I, desperate for some genuine english language, strike up a conversation and invite myself to their table.

I think the conversation is going well though the woman hasn’t said anything. She keeps staring at me, but averts her eyes when I look directly at her, as if unwilling to humanize the object of her repulsed fascination. I know I’m dirty and my clothes smell. And maybe I am talking a little too fast, a little too needily, OK.

Eventually my omelet is served. The cook/waiter places the egg and bread down with a flourish, looks at me for approval, then frowns. He leans over and wipes a bugger dangling from my nose. I feel his rough finger getting it all. He wipes it on his pants with a warm paternal smile, gives a small glad to be of service nod, and retreats.

The woman sees this as her opportunity and strikes: “You really are two very different colors. The top half of your head is white and the half below your eyes is red. You look like a dirty striped ball!”

Her boyfriend apprehensively moves his eyes from her to me.

I apologize for being so difficult to look at. I lament that my awful appearance has destined me to cycle this world all alone. I whisper that I am most grateful for their company. There is a pause. He grins. I launch hungrily into the omelette and the conversation. She decides that the human animal at the table is harmless and joins in.

Ummm, can someone please tell me what’s the customary tip for that service?

4 thoughts on “02/15/2012 to Skoura

  1. It’s 5:30 AM. I have been woken by the yowl to prayer. Several times I wait in a small shop for the shopkeeper to finish praying before helping me. I know it’s not personal, though.

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