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I lay on the hard stone, breathless. My mind was shocked with the worst pain I’ve ever felt. For the first moments, all I could do was grimace in agony, unable to even see for the blinding white pain.
الجزائر, al-Jazā’ir, week four
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الجزائر, al-Jazā’ir, week three
الجزائر, al-Jazā’ir, week one
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June 7. The visa begins, but I am still in Spain, pedaling more kms than ever before, under a hotter-than-ever sun.
I reach Almeria with plenty of time to spare, and give my rig a tune-up on the rambla
, amidst an angry protest against Israeli terrorism and Spanish arms manufacturing.
The ferry terminal has a little makeshift mosque. Huge groups of Arabs and a few Europeans; ninety percent take the ten o’clock for Morocco, leaving me feeling quite hard-core alone with the Algerians.
The midnight boat boards at one and leaves at one thirty.
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The hospitality of rural Morocco continued to impress as I slowly cycled south. So much so, I began to wonder if I would need my tent(or my cooking pots, or my spice kit, or my campstove, or my sleeping mat, or any of the self-sufficient gear I schlepp everywhere) at all in this country – or would it be like this in all Islamic countries? Is this a Moroccan thing, or a Muslim thing? I was welcomed to the country numerous times with “American? Ah, then this is your country!”
Regatear. To haggle. One of the big words I learned in Sevilla. “Desde el ferry, Charlie, start haggling even at the ferry to Ceuta,” advised my friend Alberto.
I’ve never been good at haggling – in Mexico I figured even if I was getting ripped off, it was still cheap, so I never worked up the guts to talk anyone down. But now, with a long stretch of Africa ahead of me, and a much more highly developed thriftiness than ever before, I figured it was time to learn. (more…)