Africa is Cool

”Africa is cool, there is just a lot of crazy shit tourists are not used to,” said Abdul, the frontman of the Essaouiran band Afram, who I had been hanging out with the past week in Essaouira. Yeah, it is certainly easy as a first time visitor to brush a lot of the locals off as scammers and fakers. And even for Abdul, who grew up in Casablanca, coming back to Morocco from Austria, where he now resides is always a major culture shock. He tells his childhood stories with a great sense of humor and a slight twinkle of the old days, when hippies used to come around with 3 kilos of LSD and give it out to kids on the streets, sending them into inexplicable bliss. Or his days at the local pool, when everytime he jumped in the water someone would immediately run up and steal his sandwich. Or going to the movie theaters where the main entertainment wasn’t the movie, but the fights that would erupt from the audience. “But that’s Morocco!” Abdul concluded cheerfully. A minute later he went outside and came back in to announce someone had just stolen a lightbulb from his front doorway lamp. But that’s Morocco! And at the end of the day, the scammers and fakers are only trying to make a living. “He was simply a youth tremendously excited with life, and though he was a con man, he was only conning because he wanted so much to live and to get involved with people who would otherwise pay no attention to him,” says Sal Paradise about Dean Moriarty in On the Road, and I liked to think of the personalities I had come across in this light. Africa certainly is cool, but you gotta keep your cool. You have to roll with it otherwise it will get the best of you. Cheers to the adventure of a lifetime. En Shallah!

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~ by ceciliabien on October 22, 2009.

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