Thursday, December 2, 2010

Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick

Our Western Africa trip got off to a bumpy start.  Farron, our driver, did not meet us at the airport as planned and we were shuttled to a Marrakech hotel by non-English speakers with no information.  We didn’t mind much because we got to spend the night catching up with Amy…  (I met Amy in a data room on a property investment deal in Sydney and instantly liked her.   That she decided to join our African adventure is further proof that I have impeccable taste).

Farron arrived the next morning to inform us that our transport for the entire trip (it’s hard to know what to call our beast of a truck) was still in Spain because Moroccan authorities would not let him drive a tourist vehicle across the border without tourists (or Moroccans pretending to be tourists…or inflatable dolls).  The good news = five days spent in hotels.  The bad news = a re-routing of the trip that ultimately loses us a bit of time down the road.  We later learned that the border “mistake” cost the company about 5,000 Euros.  I call this the cost of karma.   You can ask me why later.

The players for our 10-week adventure:  An ex-maximum security prison guard from Canada with a heart of gold and a fiery wit, two Milanese businessmen who teach us dirty words in Italian whenever they aren’t busy flirting, a Portuguese surf-shop/bar owner who left his wife behind even though she wanted to come (he claims he didn’t want to endanger her, but this reason seems increasingly suspicious as we get to know him), a couple of English psychologists, two girls that just finished Teach-for-America stints (Amy has nicknamed one of them “the Devil”, a title she more than deserves), a quiet Swede, a cynical Scot, a 21-year old German soap-opera star (well, “star” might be a bit of a stretch) who is teaching himself a fourth language on this trip (yes, I am appropriately shamed), an Irishman who is quickly getting sick of us asking him to pronounce the number three (“tree”), a 19-year old kid that has been saving for the trip for two years by working at a supermarket in England, two Alaskans in their 60s, an adorable eye doctor currently working in Borneo, a gay (always drunk) Kiwi, an English woman with a penchant for Fijian men, an Aussie that I still like even though he bought a guitar on the second day of the trip (thankfully  we don’t have the type of group that wants to sit around the campfire singing), a Swiss-German who  keeps to himself, another cute Canadian, and a thoughtful Englishman that is always off taking pictures of birds (Kaedon would like him).

With the exception of the Devil, we have been pleasantly surprised by the people on the trip.  Still, I wish we had the right to vote people off just in case.

More on Morocco later, but as a preview, I'm in love with the walls of colorful shoes...

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