Posts tagged morocco

On the violence of borders

I recently visited Ceuta, a piece of the north African coast that belongs to Spain and is hence part of “Europe”. It was a very strange and disturbing experience to cross that border so easily just by showing my British passport, when many people with different-coloured passports die trying to do the same thing. Here’s a photo I took of the border fence. The houses to the left are in Spain; the hillside to the right is in Morocco. There’s also a small village on the Moroccan side, just out of… Read More

Happy International Women’s Day? Not in Morocco

I’d like to wish all of you a Happy International Women’s Day! Let’s all do what we can to #BeBoldForChange. I would really like it to be a happy day for women in Morocco, too, but from what I’ve seen over the past few months, I doubt that it will be. While travelling around Morocco, I’ve seen women in Morocco: hauling huge bundles of firewood like mules being told by their husband who they can and can’t talk to being prevented by their husband from giving their contact details to my wife… Read More

The “blue town” of Chefchaouen

Usually I try to tie my posts to a topic or theme, or expand my travel observations into an essay. This post isn’t like that. It’s just some photos of a town that’s blue. The town is called Chefchaouen, and it’s in the Rif mountains of northern Morocco. Why is it blue? There are various theories… One theory is that the blue paint is designed to ward off mosquitoes. Or maybe the tradition of painting buildings blue was brought by Jewish immigrants fleeing the Spanish inquisition in the 15th century… Or… Read More

The pull of the road

Back in the year 2000, Genie and I took our first trip together. We were living in New York City at the time, and we rented a car and drove up to Montreal. After a great long weekend there, it was finally time to start the six-hour drive back home. So what did we do? We drove another couple of hundred miles in the opposite direction and spent the afternoon in Québec City. Then we finally drove home through the night, arriving in New York at about five in the morning, ready to… Read More

In a desert state of mind

We’re now more than a month into our trip around Morocco, and I have lots of things I want to say about it. But I’m struggling to formulate those thoughts exactly. I think what it comes down to is that it’s a beautiful and fascinating place, but I don’t like being in a place with so much inequality. By inequality, I mean several different things, such as gender inequality, inequality of wealth and opportunity between Morocco and Europe, unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity within Morocco, the way those inequalities seem to… Read More

Living on the road

People have been asking me where I am living these days, so here’s an update. In early 2015, Genie and I started living on the road. We gave up our rented apartment in Crete, sold most of our stuff and stored the rest of it in my parents’ loft, bought a second-hand Toyota, and set off to travel around Europe. Almost two years later, we’re still doing it. We’ve extended our definition of Europe slightly—right now we’re in Morocco. One of the reasons I haven’t talked about our travels much on… Read More

“Allah’s Garden” by Thomas Hollowell

This is an interesting book about a conflict that has been going for decades and yet rarely grabs the headlines. When Western Sahara won its independence from Spain in 1975, Morocco laid claim to the land and sent thousands of settlers. Since then, an organisation called the Polisario has been fighting against Moroccan occupation. This book tells the story of Azeddine, a young doctor who, during a brief stint of compulsory military service, is captured by the Polisario and kept in a POW camp in the desert for more than… Read More