A SURFER’S PARADISE

An intense smell of freedom woke me up. My white bedsheets and white bedspread and the softness of my bed gave me the feeling I was in heaven. The wind was blowing through the white linen curtains and a sweet smell took me back to the days I used to live by the beach in Lima, Peru. It was the smell of sunny days by the ocean and the smell of countless hours playing by the sand until the sunset. I stood up from my bed and walked to the terrace next to my bedroom. The morning was beautiful, cool, fresh. The ocean’s breeze refreshed me and I kept experiencing dejavu after dejavu while sitting on a chair admiring the beautiful ocean in the horizon. I was in paradise.

I stood up and walked towards the coral balcony where I left my towel hanging to dry the night before, I could see the pool downstairs and the beautiful green gardens that surrounded it. I walked down the spiral staircase and saw Leila in the kitchen while a delicious smell of fresh baked bread and omelets started overwhelming my nostrils. Leila had welcomed me so warmly the prior night and she had even shown me the store nearby where she bought me a yogurt and a chocolate bar. She was chatting with the cook Salam and introduced me to him. Salam made delicious breakfast and fresh and healthy lunch for everyone at the house. I walked by the counter where the food was lined up beautifully for us to grab as we wanted. There was three kind of juices, eggs, ham, cheese, several kinds of bread, coffee, tea, and more foods than I can remember. I was given a tappleware to pack my lunch and I chose rice, lentils, tuna, veggies and eggs. I was starting to get excited. I grabbed my breakfast and my packed lunch and walked outside where there was a big table with seats around it and where everyone in the house got together to eat, like a family. During breakfast, I got to meet and talk more to the people I briefly had been introduced to the prior night and after breakfast, we got ready for the beach and grabbed the equipment and went on a big van loaded with our surfboards and wetsuits. We started our journey driving along gorgeous beaches and cliffs, stopping every now and then to assess the swell and check out the waves. During our drive, we would get a glimpse of the daily life in Taghazout. There were men walking on the roads, sometimes I would see kids playing, women walking together or shepherds with their sheep. Sometimes I would see camels walking along the cliffs and fishermen starting to get ready for a long day at the beach.

The spot picked for the day was Panorama Beach in Taghazout and as soon as we parked, each of us lined up outside to pick up a board and a wetsuit and one by one we started descending into the beach. Some of us would lay down our towels, others would lay down their beautiful colorful moroccan beach carpets that were for sell by the beach merchants for 180 Dirhams. The instructor would call us afterward to start warming up and soon enough we would start grabbing our boards and start going in the water to practice for about two hours or until we would get hungry. Then, we would grab lunch together and some of us would decide to lay down for a little longer before going back in the water to continue practicing.

I made some cool friends at the surf camp and especially one dutch girl whose name was Elena. She became my partner in crime and my confident. We would sit together every day in the van and ask Yazid ( One of our surf instructors ) to play Drake’s Hotline  Bling and that song became our song and we used to play it everywhere, even at the beach or even sing it to each other while we were getting ready in the mornings. Lunch break would be our time to talk and admire the ocean and discuss heavily on whether we should go back in the water or not. Sometimes the discussion would be around if we should put the wetsuit back on or just go back surfing without it or sometimes we would discuss which guy was the cutest guy at the camp.

Before Elena came into the picture, I hang out with two dutch guys named Clint and Boy. They were good at surfing and would always be photographing each other in the afternoon session. We used to have lunch together and sometimes a cute beach dog would join us and we would spend some time playing with him and feeding him lunch leftovers. We would sit by the water and they would tell me about their lives in The Netherlands and what they do and where they have been. Boy and Clint were best friends and were doing a boys only holiday in Morocco before going back to work in the cold weather. I was surprised they were fond of the cold weather. They seemed very excited when talking about home and all the winter sports they love.

The days flew by in Tamraght and snapshots of my dear surfer friends at the beach come often to my mind. Sometimes having lunch together with our beach dog, sometimes reading and being lazy, taking photos and daring each other to go back one more time to surf one more wave before 4 o’clock when we would pack our things and drive back to The House. I remember the day I went into town to shop for bikinis with Leila, or the time when Elena and I along with Boy and Clint got dropped out in Taghazout town to go shopping and then had to bargain our way back to the house with a taxi driver, after having delicious Moroccan Coffee by the highway,  or the many Yoga sessions on the rooftop of the House overlooking the Sunset. Sessions that more than once I was not able to go to because I was too exhausted from surfing all day.

Dinner at the house was the most important part of the day. We would sit together like a big family and eat the delicious 3-course meals our cook had made for us. Sometimes we would buy some beer to say cheers and Yazid would sing and play music and suddenly the whole house would come alive and we would dance and sing together clapping and smiling while singing along. Those were the days. The sweet days.

The day I had to leave had finally come and the feelings of fear and uncertainty returned. Elena had asked me to stay longer and I wanted to but I also wanted to continue my journey. Habib had purchased my ticket for the city of Essaouira, which was my next stop before heading back to Marrakech. I was going alone again and saying goodbye to everyone felt heavy in the heart. How easily we become attached to familiarity. We had breakfast together one more time and I watch them leave for the beach. I hugged Elena and said goodbye to all my dear friends. I said bye to Leila and promised I would return and while I was sitting waiting for Habib to pick me up, Fatima, the lady that helps in the house came to hug me and say goodbye. Fatima did not speak English but she was the sweetest lady I have met. She made wonderful Argan Oil that was for sale at the house and she was very caring and dedicated to her work.

Habib had arrived and as I was walking with my bags towards the entrance, I turned back to have one last look of the place where I spent a whole week. Leila was standing by the kitchen door, smiling. I smiled at her and continued walking towards the car. The drive to the bus station was about thirty minutes and for those entire thirty minutes, I mentally revisited the each one more time. As if it was a dream I regained consciousness and suddenly Habib was turning into the Bus station.

I found myself again in the same place with the same feelings. How sweet were the days that I just spent in Tamraght? How beautiful and how alive I felt. I boarded my bus and giving the last glimpse to the station I smiled. I was certain I would return to this place. I have found my paradise. A surfer’s Paradise.

 

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