0245. Year 2008 in a Nutshell (Mor 093--new)

Gara Travel Blog

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From Berrechid there's one little town all by itself that's calling me--El Gara... so I head to the Grand Taxi station... The driver pays me a big compliment--after we chat for a bit, he asks me where I'm from... I tell him the USA...

"You've got to be kidding me!  I was absolutely sure that you were from North Morocco--by your accent..." He exclaims...

I consider that a very big compliment.

We head out across the rolling emerald hills to a picturesque little town far from any of the main roads.  El Gara feels very disconnected--a world all to itself... I wander through its back streets greeted by its friendly residents.

.. I play some music in its forested park, proud to be the first American to ever visit this town...

"Hey! are you American?" I hear a guy behind me say in an almost American accent.  I look at him a bit surprised.  "I live in Denver" he goes on, pointing to his Denver Nuggets cap, "lived there for 14 years... but I was born here in El Gara..."

OK, maybe the first native born American to visit El Gara...

...And that, I guess, is the end of the 2008 leg of my Parkbenching Saga... 

I still feel that I’m right in the middle of my Every Town in Morocco Subproject… but I think this is a good stopping point to reevaluate, look back and look forward…

 The End of My first Semester Touring every Town in Morocco

 One of the big achievements of this tour is that I’ve realized that even little dusty, flea-bitten Moroccan towns can offer a wealth of experiences and insight--  and sometime turn into amazing discoveries… Mhrija, Ahfir, Rommani, Targuist, Ben Slimane, Ben Ahmed, Taounate, Jorf Lasfar, and of course Rchida--  all towns that I would have turned my nose up at a couple of years ago, now have been the sources of unforgettable experiences.

Of course, I enjoyed the better known historical spots as well, like Fes, Meknes,Volubilis… as well as some sizeable cities that I knew absolutely nothing about, like Oujda, Nador, Beni Mellal…

To summarize, this Tour has really whetted my appetite for using this Parkbench Project to really discover a country, rather than just hopscotch around the globe.

 THE END OF SEMESTER 2008B

The Morocco 2 Tour was my only tour of 2008B making it my slowest tour to date in many respects--  I spent only 31 days on the road (down from 49) and explored 74 towns (down from 84).   I did however increase my number of hours spent exploring (455, up from 396) and number of memories created (1,180, up from 1,005).

On a bit of a tight budget, I stayed in Morocco the whole time (except for a quick cross to the Spanish enclave of Melilla.  I am a little bit worried that if this trend continues, this whole project could peeter out and go from being a “Global Parkbench Tour” to merely a “Morocco Parkbench Tour”--  which certainly was not the original idea…

We’ll just have to see how next semester goes.

End of Episode 11

End of Tour 2008B 


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Gara
photo by: nathanphil