Friday, June 17, 2005

University Visit

This morning we visited the university in Marrakech. Dr. King had to meet with the leaders of the university to strengthen a bond they had previously developed and discuss a possible working relationship and grant. While the adults discussed the “important stuff” the rest of us spent time with a senior marketing student named Imane. Imane and I had an instant connection. It was a s though we shared a brain across the ocean. She and I discussed politics, relationships, cultural differences and life in general. A beautiful girl, she broke many of the stereotypes about Muslim women. She was dressed in trendy clothes (pants and a sleeveless shirt). She was not afraid to touch the guys. Her head was uncovered and she was wearing make-up (though not much). She had obvious intelligence and a strong educational background. She spoke with great knowledge of the American political system and carried herself with confidence. We invited her to have lunch with us at Pizza Hut. While there, she told me she believed the hardest social barrier to overcome was humor and that she felt she instantly understood my thoughts and my humor. It may be hard to believe, but I know that we will see each other again. In fact, I am sure of it.
On the way to Essaouira I had a severe asthma attack. I could not hear the other people on the team, I could only make out indistinct sounds as though I was underwater. In my head my lungs were screaming at such a rate and volume that to me it was deafening and nothing more than a huge reminder of my own physical weakness.
Imane called Dr. King’s cell phone just after we arrived in Essaouira. She and I talked for a few minutes. She said she missed me already and that we had chemistry. I understand what she meant. I would call us kindred spirits.
Essaouira was very hazy when we arrived. We are staying in Hotel Tafouk. Virtually everything in the hotel and town in general that is not a neutral color is blue. Dinner was an interesting experience. We ate at some sort of fish market just off the water’s edge. At the front of the stand there was a cart with many fresh fish, shrimp, and other sea food. You simply chose the items you wanted and they cooked them up for you. I was very glad that Dr. King had stopped in the market before dinner to purchase some vegetables for me. Otherwise it could have been a long hungry dinner for me.
Imane called again just to check on us. I miss her very much already. Strange considering we just met.

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