This page is a project of Vance Stevens,
Index page | Casablanca | El Jedida | Oualidia | Safi | Essaouira | Marrakesh and back to Casa | Fes | Meknes, Volubilis, and Moulay Idriss | Ifrane and Mt. Ayachi, 3737 m. | Meknes and Tangier | Spain

Bobbi, Dusty, Glenn, and Vance in Morocco and Spain

June-July 2000


This summer, I had to go to Barcelona to participate in a conference on computer-assisted language learning, which you can read about at However I decided to leave Abu Dhabi a few weeks early and spend a little time with my family en route. We arranged for our estranged son in California to fly out to Casablanca. Bobbi and Dusty and I would arrive there first and travel a bit around Morocco and meet up with Glenn who couldn't make it till later. Then we'd work our way overland to Barcelona. Finally, we planned to go to Pamplona where a Spanish friend of ours from the UAE was planning to be with her family who came from there, and we hoped to meet her there at the time of the San Fermin festival, which features the Encierro, or running of the bulls through the streets of Pamplona each morning during the festival.

The trip got off to a very rocky start. We usually depart Abu Dhabi the first evening we can after the last weekday of work, but that Wednesday June 14 was at the last minute declared a holiday in the UAE, so we anticipated using the day to get organized and pack properly for once in our lives. But I was feeling a little weak that morning and by noon had gone down for a nap. I had a pretty bad fever. I kept getting up and trying to pack, but I did this only half-heartedly and would soon be back in the sack for another hour of rest. When I went down at nine p.m. to try to wake up at 10 to pack for an 11 p.m. departure, Bobbi called Amsterdam and a halt to the proceedings.

We managed to postpone our departure by a day. I slept from 11 that night to 4 p.m. the next day, except that I had to get up each hour to use the bathroom, without fail. I counted the numbers on the clock each time I got up. Two in the morning, three, four, and so on for the next 12 hours. Without going into greater detail (you don't want to know), we got away that evening, fever somewhat attenuated through assiduous rest, and we even managed an outing into Amsterdam, but the fever returned with a vengeance, and I ended up at the first aid station in Schipol Airport where thankfully there was a paramedic to do a test and a doctor on call to prescribe antibiotics, so when we landed in Casablanca the fever had again subsided enough for me to cope with the situation.

The situation could have been worse. I tried to sleep on the friendly flight on KLM/Transavia. The young stewards dealt well with the English soccer toughs who had flaunted no smoking policies in Schipol and who were trying to chat up the Norwegian girls two rows behind them (what language do you speak in Norway, one of the lines). The rowdy Moroccan soccer fans two rows behind us returning to Casa were at least making noise in another language (though I found myself sometimes listening in to the French, and harking to the differences in Gulf and Moroccan Arabic). Berber was a further confusing factor.

This story is broken into several parts. You can read it linearly (start at the top) or jump to what interests you.

Top of document, site navigation

Page updated: August 3, 2000 in Hot Metal Pro 6.0