Linnea Ashley on June 2nd, 2010

Big and deficient, at least in overt gestures of the decorative accoutrements I’ve become accustomed to, Casablanca appeals to me. It is a biased affection, bread from the closest thing to anonymity I’ve experienced in any city here. Big as it is, few people try to sell to me here –hard or soft.Part of it, […]

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Linnea Ashley on May 30th, 2010

May 30, 2010Asilah, Morocco Food fantasies have subsided for me here. What began as palpable anticipation has faded into a mechanical routine; something required of me but not for the joy of it. It isn’t that I haven’t had any good food, only that the good food I’ve had has been in remote pockets. Random […]

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Linnea Ashley on May 30th, 2010

May 25, 2010Marrakech, MoroccoHope is both guiding light and cruel tool. Marrakech, an ephemeral dream of possibilities, met me at the end of a seven-hour (and delayed) train ride from Fes. Older and more crowded than every other morocco train ride so far, this one included 18MAD sandwiches (expensive at just over $2 but unnecessary […]

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Linnea Ashley on May 24th, 2010

I surveyed the rolling hills. They were steeper than they looked. And in the heat of the day, afternoon call to prayer echoing over the browning grass beneath the rich blue sky. We’d already walked up a series of hills in search of Moulay Yacoub thermal spa-scoffing at the 50 MAD price the taxi drivers […]

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Linnea Ashley on May 21st, 2010

The narrow winding streets of the medina are sheltered on both sides (and sometimes above) by shops; it is an ancient shopping mall of pretty much all things conceivable….living animals waiting to become meals, or their kin already slaughtered, silver, copper being made, rugs, tile. Whatever you need is nestled somewhere between one of the […]

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Linnea Ashley on May 19th, 2010

The call to prayer chases itself from one minaret to the next – echoing its multiple births across the Place Boujeloud outside the medina gate. Sparsely populated during the day – mostly students from the adjoining college sharing the shade of a row of mulberry trees dropping ripe fruit – the paved expanse is crowded […]

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Linnea Ashley on May 19th, 2010

“Côte d’Ivoire?”I shook my head no.“Cameroon?”I shook again.“Nigeria?”Now he was reaching; unsure but determined to figure it out.“American,” I offered with a smile. His turn to shake his head. “you are African,” he grinned at me, confident in his assessment.He wasn’t alone in noticing me or in guessing my origins. Here, at least, the assumption […]

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Linnea Ashley on May 10th, 2010

It burned my finger, forcing me to drop it back into the bag to wait for it to cool. Impatient, I picked it up again, and when the heat became too much I put it between my teeth, blowing out to speed the cooling process. A few seconds later and the soft yellow-brown flesh succumbed […]

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Linnea Ashley on April 8th, 2010

In a throwback to biblical times or movies about India, the training took place on a Leprosy and TB rehabilitation community. The turn off of Ganta highway and down a dusty road passes a series of what appear to be one-room brick duplex homes. Where the doors are left slightly open I catch a glimpse […]

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Linnea Ashley on March 17th, 2010

In defiance of all generalizations and laughingly agreed upon norms among my Liberian and American friends, Liberians were the first to arrive at our party- well before any Americans showed their faces. First was Belecca, friend in tow, dressed to the nines in a lapa suit I’d never seen and a fancy head wrap.I hadn’t […]

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