Jul 22, 2005


Originally uploaded by macnamband.

They stand along the road, a few yards west of the marche, under the trees. They're hitching, all men, some soldiers, some farmers, most out of work. The soldiers are usually on their way to El Hajeb, to visit with the prostitutes. Especially on pay day. That's the big day in El Hajib, the trucks lumber down the mountain roads and the police are always there to stop them and get money from the customers. The illegality is always unclear, always made up. In this way, the prostitutes feed everyone, except themselves. They get a pittance. Their owners, and they are often owners, collect fortunes and then build houses in the quartier de voleurs, which I told you about.

The other day I picked up a crazy looking man. He was not a soldier; he was not going to El Hajib. He was on his way to Meknes. He had a local paper. We exchanged a few words and then he went on a ramble of his own. He read all the want ads. He said he would like to go south, but when I asked why, he shook his head. He didn't know why. He carried on a conversation with himself. "I am on my way," he said in a mumble. "I'm traveling now. We're almost there. I was in airplane mechanics. At Royal Air Maroc. I hate planes, don't you? And I'll tell you this they have a real problem with parts. If they need something, perhaps for a flap, they don't get it from Boeing, they get it on a black market for those kind of parts. The parts come from Europe, or sometimes Asia. If you knew what you were flying, you would never fly. I hate altitude. Even here. What is it, a mile up? I don't like thin air. I want to get into something else. Maybe truck maintenance, but it's hard to find a job these days. Do you have any money you could spare? No, okay. That's okay. I'm just asking. You never know. But when I get to Meknes, maybe.... Where are you going after that? Oh, just there..... To fix your car. I understand. Yes, well maybe I will get to Layounne. They say it's dangerous but there's always a need for people in dangerous places. Would you like to hear the want ads again?"

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