Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Travel Tuesdays: Awakening in a Strange Place

"To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world. You are surrounded by adventure. You have no idea of what is in store for you, but you will, if you are wise and know the art of travel, let yourself go on the stream of the unknown..."
                                                   ~Frey Stark, Baghdad Sketches

This has happened to me many times during travel- awakening in a strange town (or place)- but the place that always comes to mind when I read this quotation is Marrakesh, Morocco. My husband, our two friends, and I had been in Morocco for roughly a week on the day in question. We had been suffering from a bout of "Traveler's D" and were all a bit wrung out. We turned in early.

We were awoken at dawn the next morning by the Muezzin's call to prayer, "Allahu Akbar." This wasn't the first time I'd heard the call to prayer- we had been in Niger before our trip to Morocco and had already heard it in country. The difference was the fact that I was in a dead sleep when the call came loud and clear from a speaker in the Mosque across the street.

It was loud.
It was disorienting.
Then, as I processed my surroundings and realized where I was, it was pleasant. I'm not Muslim, so I wasn't called to pray, but I felt the significance of that call- the ceremony of that call. I felt peaceful there in my bed listening to the city coming alive.

This day turned out to be an important travel day for me- the day we met Mokhtar- the man I blogged about in Travel Tuesdays: Morocco.
The man I shared stories and laughs with in the back of a Land rover.
The man who guided us on our camel trek.
The man who gave me the Muslim name we later gave to our daughter. 

So it's true... you have no idea what's in store for you, but if you let yourself go on the stream of the unknown, wonderful things can happen.

Have you ever had the experience of awakening in a strange town? What unexpected events happened that day?

Related Posts
Travel Tuesdays
Travel Tuesdays: Morocco

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