Two weekends ago I was invited to travel south of Agadir for a gathering at a cave home. I had seen lived in caves along the rocky cliffs north of Taghazout where fisherman, daily, meander down to the shore line to cast their lines. But I never realized that there are regular people who purchase these caves and redevelop them into a home or weekend home. Some more elaborate and larger than others. Our friend, Gorka, had purchased one in Doura to redevelop and serve as his weekend home. He was very kind to open it up to a large group of us, many seeing it for the first time.
Driving to the top of the cliff to park and unpack our gear and surfboards, we made our descent down 30 or so makeshift rock and soil stairs to the cave. Gorka’s cave home lies equidistant between the top of the cliff and the sandy beach below. The view of the coastline beautiful and calming. The wind made for perfect paragliding conditions. We watched as two para-gliders passed by overhead and carved through the brisk ocean breeze. Arriving around noon we set our boards down, put our wet suits on and made our way to the water. The waves were shit and my shoulder was still achy but I stayed in the water for about an hour struggling to catch a good wave. With my shoulder needing rest and not being happy with the wave conditions, I paddled in and headed up the incline to hang out with some of the crew who don’t surf or didn’t feel like surfing.
The cave home is modestly decorated without a TV, a bedroom which is separated by a bamboo wall from a smallish kitchen and the 10 x 12 living room (the original cave dwelling). Outside there is an outhouse with a western style toilet on one side of the home and an outdoor shower (with no privacy wall) and sink on the other. Adjacent to the shower is a nice covered patio. The main drawback to a cave home is being 50 feet beneath sand and rock that guarantees sand ends up pretty much everywhere it wants as it falls from above. In your hair, in your food or drink and with the wind as it was that day, pretty much everywhere else it decides it wants to settle.
Cracking open a beer (after removing the sand from the can) and enjoying the sunshine it was nice meeting new friends and catching up with others. Most are Spanish speaking and as I am still trying to improve my Spanish communication skills, I enjoyed attempting to understand what they were discussing. I can barely structure sentences in Spanish but having a fairly good grasp of the vocabulary and depending on where the person is from, I can somewhat understand what they are talking about. Some dialects much better than others. I did have a good discussion, in English, with Daniel, a former journalist from Spain. He has been traveling extensively the past 3 years and has written 3 books. Daniel now heads up an editorial publishing group that is helping Cuban writer’s get their stories heard as that market is now open to the US while censorship by the Castro government is beginning to crack. (Check out Guantanamera Editorial @ www.guantanamera.es to learn more about the authors and the catalog of published works.) He tells me of how he left journalism and began travel writing and admits that his success has been small but steadily growing. This is something I aspire to mirror while I am traveling the world with the goal of becoming a travel writer. Gathering knowledge of the places I visit and learning the culture from the people who welcome me into their lives will serve me well. So far, Morocco has welcomed me warmly much like Spain and Portugal did in the months prior to my visit here.
As the others finished surfing and the winds steadily increased Tono and a couple others moved to a cave next door to cook up paella. We all sat in a small room gathered close together on the floor around a couple of tables enjoying the delicious meal prepared for us. After a full day in the sun, many of us exhausting ourselves in the water, we were all tired after filling our bellies with food and dessert. Gorka was apparently exhausted the most and decided to take a nap after the rest of us had finished eating and returned to his cave home 15 meters away. About an hour later we were packing up the cars to head back toward Anza and Tamraght. The wind would wreak havoc getting the surfboards secured on top of the cars’ surf racks. But with good effort and patience we were able to get everything secured. As the sunset waved its ‘goodbye’ another unique Moroccan day was coming to a close. A day made even better by new and stronger friendships forged that afternoon. The serene setting we were blessed to witness added to the delightful experience. And many thanks to Gorka for his generous hospitality.
Arriving back to the surf house a shower was a must in order to remove all the sand that was caked in my hair and in every crevice of my body. I must say, however, that the sand blasting for a few hours at the cave did make for a good exfoliating session beautifying my face and skin. At least that is what I am telling myself, hahaha. Feeling cleansed and refreshed I lied in my bed to reflect upon the afternoon that I had just spent with my new friends.
Days like this are what I will remember most about Morocco when the time comes that God encourages my path carry me onward and away from this lovely country. It’s people have treated me kindly and the friendships I have forged will be with me forever. I have been invited into homes of local Moroccan’s to enjoy delicious home made Tajine and Cous-cous, a few have even helped me with SIM card issues that needed resolving in the native tongue at a local store or over the phone. Shop owners at the market now know me, smile and say ‘hello’ (in French and Arabic). The owners and staff of Blue Waves Surf House, where I have called home for over five weeks, have treated me with incredible openness and acceptance. Tono, Andrea, Bruno, Eva, Jamal, Bamboo Tcha, Nadia and Tim, have been amazing, making me feel as if I have known them for years. When my Moroccan adventure does draw to a close it is days like this, filled with so much love and laughter, that I will miss most. Should you ever have the desire to partake in a day like this I encourage you to journey to Anza, book a stay at Blue Waves and make easy friends with the staff and the locals who stop by daily to say ‘Assalamu alaikum’ (which means, Peace be upon you).
The simple life here envelops you, it calms your soul and refreshes your mind. And you will never regret days like this!