6 April. Quarzazate.
-“Does that offer for lunch still stand?”
-“Mais, oui! Where are you now?”
-“At the busstation.”
-“Wait for me, I’ll be there in 30 minutes.”
I hang up and walk towards a bench. Put my backpack down and sit. That’s what I needed. When I woke up this morning I set out to get to Beni Mellal - 500 kms away - but boy that didn’t really work out. Now, I’m back in Quarzazate. Didn’t think I’d make another stop here, but hey, at least I get to see Mike again. Last time was a bit short.
Who the fuck is Mike?
Well, my friend, to find that out, we have to go back a few days…
3 April. Quarzazate.
It’s Sunday, 7:45am and I’m already on the road. I want to get to Zagora today and I want to beat the heat. Hence the early start. I’m walking for about 20 minutes till I reach a good spot and stick my thumb out. First car stops.
-“Where you’re going?”
-“Well, I’m not going to Zagora, but I can drop you off on the other side of this bridge. You’ll be in Tarmigt then, and it will be easier to get a ride from there.”
I jump in.
His name is Mike. We talk a little, but it seems like he’s not really in to making conversation.
-“Sorry, I’m just a little bit tired. I just finished my shift at the service station. Now I’m going home to get some sleep.”
Ah, that explains his long face.
Then he asks:
-“Say, do you wanna come home with me and have some breakfast?”
Never one to turn down a meal, I accept his offer, even though I know this guy for a whole minute and 44 seconds.
When we arrive at his place, I meet his 14 year old lil’ sis, auntie and mom. They all seem to have just woken up, and are rather surprised to see Mike come home with this stranger on Sunday at 8am. But, true to Moroccan hospitality, soon the trays with tea, bread, olives, oil and some other goodies are laid out in front of me.
No worries, I’m eating.
After breakfast Mike says he’s going to take a nap.
-“But I’ll see you at lunch, safi?”
-“Uhm, lunch? I just had breakfast.”
-“If you stay for lunch, you’ll have more energy for the road and besides, Zagora isn’t that far, you’ll make it there before tonight.”
Even though tempting, I thank Mike and his family for the offer, and tell them I should get back on my way.
-“OK, it’s your choice. Let me grab my keys, I’ll drop you off where you want.”
I say goodbye to the wonderful family and Mike drives me to an excellent spot. Before he leaves, he says:
-“Here is my number, in case you change your mind about lunch.”
He hands me a piece of paper with his number and off he goes. Don’t think I’ll change my mind. I’m thinking to throw away the piece of paper, but then decide to hold on to it.
6 April. Quarzazate.
And I’m glad I did. Cause else I wouldn’t be hanging out with lil’ sis and mom in the soukh right now. At home we eat delicious chorba. And Mike?
Well, he’s back at work, pulling another all nighter. The first time we met, we hardly spent half an hour in eachother’s company and this time, we exchanged exactly 5 sentences before he had to rush off to work. But you know what? One minute with Mike and his wonderful family is enough to know what spectacular people they are. And I’m incredibly grateful our paths crossed. Again.