This was the last photo I took. For the last day or so of the trip I put the camera down and tried to open my eyes. Many of these photos are unabashedly sentimental. Biased towards portraying the good and the light. But that’s why I go on vacation. We met a man named Hassan (many people in Morocco seem to be named Hassan) who told us that Westerners are always “Hurry, hurry, like Ferrari” (This sounds a lot better through a thick Berber/Arab accent, with rolling ‘r’s’ and ‘u’s turning into broad ‘a’s, go ahead and try it out loud…) Adding to this is the unyielding cynicism of Western culture. We’ve been hardened, and we look for the edge. So much so that it has almost become a sign of weakness to show interest in something, to see the good, to be drawn to the light.

That night things really clicked for us in Fez. We returned to town, stopping en route to buy a bottle of wine and crush up our collection of beer cans. When we dropped off our silver camel at the lot, the attendant bummed one of our last remaining beers from the decimated supply in the trunk, which we happily gave him. We wanted to take advantage of the rooftop terrace of our hotel, so dinner was prepared by strolling through the markets. Some bread, some olives, some grilled sausages. Dave was given an onion. One of the hotel employees brought up a kerosene lantern for the table and an assortment of spices. It was a feast, the best meal we had in Morocco, and certainly the least expensive.

On the train from Fes to Casablanca, I looked out the window at the Atlantic waves pounding on the African shore, enjoying my self-imposed exile from the camera. Ironically, sometimes it is hard to see with a camera. Everything gets broken up into frames and moments.

We arrived in Casablanca and took lodging for the night at the Hotel Ibis right next to the train station. After a hot shower, we walked to the center of town. Casablanca is a big, dirty, uninspiring city. For all of the romanticism that the movie has lent this city, keep in mind that the central plot point was that every character was trying to get out of town. We ate fish near the port, then took a cab back to the hotel. This was our only cab ride of the whole trip and it was a winner. A mad dash through the city streets. There was much jockeying for position, and a glorious several blocks spent slipstreaming an ambulance.

Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009