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“Yep, Okey!” (in English)

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“Yep, Okay!” And now!?  Everything is gone! Everything that I had saved up for; car, camera, laptop, clothes, surfboards ….only my wallet remains in my pocket.

For years I had been dreaming of travelling through Africa; getting to know the true face of that mysterious and apparently dangerous and hostile continent. Furthermore, I wanted to explore the shoreline – find empty perfect waves.

The plan: To drive along the west coast of Africa from Morocco to South Africa.

All I needed was: a 4WD, money, a travel partner, a stable Africa and especially no Ebola.

What I got: An old Mitsubishi Pajero, just enough money (hopefully), a travel partner (who changed his mind only a few weeks before the trip) and – considering the war in Mali and the revolution in Burkina Faso – a quite unstable Africa right from the start; not forgetting the Ebola virus, which had spread throughout Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Nevertheless, the sails are set! The single question remains: How far will I travel?

I obviously had my doubts. Before setting off to Morocco, I was already missing my friends in Spain (where I had
been working for the last 6 months before my journey); I was missing my life in Berlin (where I had been studying for the past couple of years); strangely enough, I even missed my hometown (where I grew up). As if that wasn’t enough, I fell ill; thanks to a pretty and wild Christmas and New Year in El Palmar by the beach (without waves). However, only a few hours after landing on the African soil, my mood got better thanks to a couple of guys who were running a petrol station, without whom I would have run out of Petrol on my first 100 km!




When I arrived the next day in Kenitra, a town in the northern part of Morocco, I was greeted with a warm and a huge smile from the local surfing community. Though there weren’t the best of waves, I was frothing to get into the water, so I jumped in anyways. After a few of us went out and caught a couple of average waves, I made up my mind to relax by reading a book and enjoy the sun set, sitting on the front of my car. Not long after, I was approached by a young Moroccan, Abdu, who was speaking fluent German. The ease with which he spoke German (which by the way is a foreign language to most residents of Morocco) and his boldness forced me out of my comfortable position and caused me to lay down my book.  After a short conversation with him, he disappeared, only to come back an hour later with a chapter of Goethes Faust in his hand. What followed was a private lesson of the more absurd kind, trying not to lose face, I had to keep my bluff about my knowledge in literature, not forgetting the fact that the last time I read the masterpiece of German literature, must have been 10 years ago. Luckily the disaster didn’t last for long but rather ended with an invitation. “Come, you can sleep over at my place!” I was a bit hesitant at first but then I agreed: “Yep, Okay!”

After picking up one of his friends, we drove off to what might be one of the rather poor neighborhoods of Kenitra. One question kept popping up in my head “Is it safe here?”  As if reading my mind, Abdu assured me of my safety, after which I parked my car underneath the light post of the only bank, in between the only two cars in the area.

Abdu and myself then went on to eat at a dodgy little food joint, where I politely denied the one and only cup the whole place was drinking from, something I soon got used to. After a delicious kafta we walked back through a labyrinth of backstreets, which were roamed by a lot of the locals, many of whom were wearing pajamas – as if the backstreets were their living room. Back at Abdu’s place we jumped onto his scooter; like rabbit on amphetamines, we started racing through the night – left to right, right to left – further and further away from my car, away from my belongings, away from all I have. Brooding on the subject of possessions in my mind and getting slightly worried, my hand slid down to my wallet, deep breath, at least I still had that. After a short stopover in a smoky billiard bar, we went back to Abdu’s place, where some of his friends had already been waiting and lucky enough, my car was still where I parked. Puuhhh!

The rest of the night, we spent drinking tea and yogurt mixed up with some funky brown powder, listening to music, talking and laughing. We had a great time, until we all finally fell asleep.

The next morning, to my amazement, my car was still parked peacefully in the middle of what became overnight a street market. I drove back to the beach, where I was lucky enough to find some decent peaks to surf. After surfing my brain out all day, there was nothing else I wanted to do more than relax on the front of my car, read a book and watch the sun set. Not long has I made myself comfortable than, Amine, a young Moroccan approached me speaking English. Our conversation seemed to follow a similar routine as the one I had with Abdu and it didn’t surprise when it also ended in an invitation (more of a Moroccan hospitality), “Hey Carlo, can I invite you to the Hammam and after that to my family for dinner?”, my reply, “Ehhh, actually I was gonna …,Yep Okay!”.

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Carlo Drechsel

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