I am no good at arabic. The computer on which i am currently typing is configured for arabic so you'll have to forgive me for the potentially erratic grammar and punctuation of this entry.
I spent a couple of incredible days in Granada, which is a fantastic example of a classic andalucian city. Laid back, scattered with wonderful, very casual squares and little pockets of garden. I spent a decent amount of time wandering in the gardens of the Alambra (and some time in the Alambra itself). It's a beautiful, slightly ruined Moorish palace thqt was never designed to last, which is part of what makes it so incredible. Light filters through detailed fretwork on every window and each wall is a haze of intricate plaster moulding. I was blown away and had a spurt of gratitude that I wasn't here in the summer, when the place must be overrun with tourists. As it was, it seemed like everyone there was looking for good photo opportunities but not really seeing what they were taking photos of.
After this cultural feast and with a couple of hours to kill, i decided to go lowbrow and holed up in a cinema to watch Spiderman dubbed into Spanish. Sadly no english or french or in fact any other films playing here, so Spiderman it was. And it was hysterical - luckily the cinema was empty except for me, as I was laughing at all the bits i'm sure were meant to be serious. Truly, if Tobey Maguire had any idea he'd be voiced over by a spanish eunach with a lisp, he never would have allowed it. I cried with laughter! After this I wandered about, getting my fill of tortilla and churros and all the other spanish foods I might be waiting awhile to eat again, before setting off on the commute from hell.
Ah travel. Five hours on a train, two hours of waiting around, to hours on a ferry, two hours of waiting around, five hours on a bus. Luckily, all the horror stories people had been telling me about Morocco in general and Tangier in particular amounted to not much. Aside from a huge number of people trying to help me carry my bag (which resulted in them breaking a small part of it and then all backing off very quickly!) it's been fine. Everyone wants to try out their english/spanish/french on you and I just smile and nod and offer a myriad of multilingual greetings in return, since hello is the only word i can say in ten languages. The people here are unbelievably friendly, a nice change of pace after the rafts of generally nonchalant spaniards. I'm holed up in the Rif Mountains, in a little town called Chefchaouen. It's more of the andalucian whitewash, mixed with bright blue - it's very pretty. The village is little enough to explore with ease and now that I've been here a few days the local guys have stopped greeting me zealously and are generally much more respectful! It's odd - I've never been stared at this much in my entire life but I guess girls with moon tans are a rarity here. Today I kicked the ass out of my spanish expedition by hiking for 6 hours up to the top of the nearest mountain range, from which Chefchaouen gets its name. Lots of fun since it's only about 30 degrees in the middle of the day at the moment, since summer starts later this week. I saw a couple of cars but more goats then I have ever seen before in my life. It was like a petting zoo on crack! I offered grapes and bread to the goatherds and in return, got to be in Emily-seventh-heaven, patting groups of cute baby goats. Think I could be a goatherd. A few families live up there too. It's crazy; in the village the kids beg for caramels or coins, in the moutains they beg for antiseptic cream and bandaids. It really is another world up here. Particularly when you come down the mountain and the areas that aren't covered with rocks are covered with kif (dope) plantations. They look strangely pretty, such a bright green against the rocks. Kif is one of Morocco's biggest exports though I must look pretty straight, as I'm only asked about five times a day if I'd like to buy a few kilos. Apparently this is low, on average!! But since Moroccan jails don't look too flash, i might give that a miss.
The sun is setting now so it's time for sitting on the roof terrace, eating watermelon and listening to the evening prayers echoing around the village. Really, another world.