Most people have, at this point given me a pretty uniform response when I talk about my plans for a North African trek: "Why the fuck do you want to go there?"
My cliched but honest response has been, "Well, why not?"
Africa, and specifically Morocco, represents a frontier that has been long gone from America. It is a civilized country, and tourism there is actually starting to increase, however slowly. There aren't landmark sites like there are in France or England- there isn't really a Big Ben or Eiffel Tower.
It's more of an aura that the country has that seriously attracts me. The sections along the Atlantic Coast are big cities with lots of history, names that the American Media has romanticiszed, like Casablanca and Tangiers. The Straits of Gibralter are here, the gateway to the Mediterranean that was once seen as the ends of the Earth. Farther south it turns into Desolation Row- the mountains, and beyond them, the mighty Sahara Desert which runs to the Southern section of the dark continent.
I've been researching the whole thing heavily, and I'm finding out a lot of interesting things. Jack Kerouac was in Tangiers in the 50's along with other beat writers like William Burroughs at a time when nearly half of the population there were American expatriates. This makes it even more ironic that it was my first destination of choice, because apparently it was on Kerouac's list too. It seems that this is the country where the writers amble to when America dissapoints them too much...
There are bars on the sandy beaches, tight alleyways coursing through the old Medinas, camels offering passage through the greatest of all deserts. It is civilized to a point, but still wild to the point where you might be able to kill a man and still get away with it.
This, my friends, is what I've been waiting for.