Thursday, October 8, 2009

Travel Adventures

Let’s see… I went started traveling to Rabat last Tuesday for another ear exam. I looked at the bus schedule, buses at 12pm, 1pm, and 1:45pm. I thought I would try to catch the 1:45pm. I left my house at 12pm, managed to get a taxi at 12:30pm and thought I would make it to Errachidia just in time for the 1pm bus. Unfortunately the taxi was stopped by Gendarmes for speeding. Grrr… So I didn’t get into Errachidia until 1:15pm missing the 1pm bus and only to arrive at the bus station to learn that there no longer was a 1:45pm bus. I really do wish they would update their bus time schedule. The next bus wasn’t until 3pm and was full and the next wouldn’t be until 5pm and unfortunately due to the inability to travel at night I was forced to take a taxi. Luck had it that I got a taxi right away, the bad luck was that I had to squish into a back seat with a very large man, a not so small woman and an average sized woman. I was not able to get a window seat either. I’ve been uncomfortable before, but this was actually painful, for 4 hours. It was such a relief to arrive in Azrou. One of the doors to the backseat of the taxi didn’t shut so well either and opened up twice on the way to Azrou. Hence to say it was an adventure. In Azrou my friend and I ate with a few others and I was able to take a very appreciated hot shower and was able to get a good night’s sleep. Travel the next day was absolutely magical in comparison. I arrived at the Azrou taxi stand and was able to get a taxi to Meknes within 10 minutes, was comfortable, arrived in Mekness by 9am and caught the 9:30am train to Rabat city center. Arrived by 12pm, had previously reserved a room and was able to set down my things by 12:30pm. The travel was so smooth. I also met two wonderful ladies on the train who do belly dancing from the states. Then in Rabat I made a nice trip to Marjane, ate McDonalds and stopped by the Peace Corps Headquarters office. It was great to be able to peruse all the books in the library and use the free internet. That night was a bit irritating as several times guys tried to follow me within a block of my hotel, but other than that I was able to pick up a few new movies in the Medina, :).

Thursday was crazy. Woke up early, found my way to the ear clinic and waited a few minutes. The doctor looked at my ears and jaws. I had a hearing test done which concluded I still have a loss of hearing in my right ear. Then they took me to an operating room and laid me down on a table and stuck wet pieces of cloth into my nose and told me to breathe. I was freaking out just a bit here because I had no idea what was going on. Found out a few minutes later the pieces of cloth were to numb my nose so they could use a microscope to see the inside of my ear drum to see if there was anything clogging the insides of it. It looked fine to them. The doctor then told me he would give a prognosis after I had all my previous test results sent to him and all my previous treatments and recommendations. He also wishes to see me again in 2 months, which I will be in Rabat anyway for mid-service medicals. I then went back to the office, got reimbursed and hung out for a bit before heading out to an amazing lunch at Pizza Hut and catching the 2pm train to Fes where I was attending a Marketing workshop/Craft Fair with my women.

The craft fair was awesome. It was so great to experience one and to hang out with fellow SBDers to share information. SBD is small business development. I also ate very well for dinner while I was there, ;). I was able to eat the most amazing sushi ever one night, well, maybe not ever, but pretty amazing. My women sold a few things and had a woman place an order for a few more things. Overall it was a really great first experience for them. It was also nice for me to see all the other artists that other volunteers work with and to get a few ideas and helpful hints. I wasn’t a fan of the hostel. It was a great location, but the management was something else. I wanted to get a receipt for one night but no one could write a receipt for me and the owner was on vacation the last two days I was there. Very irritating. There were many other issues as well. Travel back was good. I traveled with a friend and two of his artisans. Mine didn’t tell me when they were leaving and I forgot to ask. I just took a bus back and then crashed when I returned to my site. Traveling to Rabat and Fes so soon after my return to from the states was exhausting. I’m sure every tourist feels the same way.

So back in site and just relaxing for a bit. My women won’t meet again until Sunday as school is back in session. Been trying to pay my rent all week. Beginning to wonder if my land lord moved. I’ll just have to pay his aunt tomorrow. I do miss being able to just send a check through the mail or putting it in a drop off box.

Otherwise nothing too big going on this month. Hope to go somewhere for Halloween. Very excited it’s on a weekend. I’d say it is one of my favorite holidays.