Time and tide, Tangier

September 2013

In Switzerland, they have watches. In Morocco, we have time.

They, and by extension, we, had time in Morocco. This is a place that where frequent periods of lengthy rumination have intrinsic value. The bustle, while ever present, never intrudes. There is time to read and write and sit and stare, watch the world go by, chat with a stranger in the next seat doing exactly the same thing – namely, nothing, aside from nursing his cup of mint tea for the past half hour – about our lives, and his.

He is from Fes, he says. We should go there. It is old and beautiful and alive.

“I don’t like Tangier so much,” he says. “They have no humour. No one smiles here.”

He is only here because that is where the work is. But he has a deep longing to make journeys. To Paris with his wife some day, and around his country, because he has never seen it. Because in its history is his blood. It is who he is.


  1. Mark says:

    Love the reflections in the mirror. Also the first line of this post.

    1. charlene says:

      We spent many, many an hour in that cafe. It’s a brilliant vantage from which to watch Tangier go by.

  2. Erin Wilson says:

    ‘It is who he is.’ Lots to think about in those five little words.

    And so beautifully appropriate that the reflection is made up of truth and fiction, real life and something other, what’s happening in the moment and something made earlier.

    1. charlene says:

      Thanks Erin. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was also a rather appropriate indication of what was to come.

  3. Moroccans definitely seems to having found the secret having time and hanging out, Cafe Tingis is one really nice place to write, watch the world go by, observe the locals wathing football – or Miss Congeniality!

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