for the unforgettable year!
I lived in your beautiful country for only one year, but the memory has lasted almost 35 years now
By: Robert Evans
I lived in your beautiful country for only one year, 1965/1966 and the memory has lasted almost 35 years. I was stationed in Sidi but lived in Kenitra in an apartment across the road from the train station near the Maamora Forest. I can still recall the fragrant smell of lemons growing outside my window and MR. Michel, my landlord or proprietor tending to his doves. The vision of little Mohammed doing his homework under a street lamp lives in my mind like it was yesterday. He lived in the back of a garage and he and his mother sold fruit and vegetables out of the front half. I remember the train ride from Kenitra to Rabat through the beautiful Moroccan countryside with the sights, sounds and smells.
I attended a circumcision ceremony that my next-door neighbors had for their twin boys. It was indeed opulent, with unlimited food such as kous kous, lamb, chicken, mint tea, nuts, fruit and goats milk. I sampled everything! There were musicians and belly dancers and it lasted three days. I was fortunate to be invited to this family affair and to see the beautiful homes' interior and to witness first hand this special celebration. The two different worlds of Mohammed and his wealthy neighbors was striking indeed, yet during the celebration everyone who came to the front door was given food and many came over the three day period. My pleasant memories are many and vivid and yet I have never been back, life intervened, but I hope someday to return with my wife to show her that lovely and exotic country.
Your country has come a very long way since my stay there, in population, education, sophistication, and the music.... I have always loved the music, but the blend of styles and cultures is remarkable. Of course, you had the Spanish and French influence in your history and culture, but the young people who no doubt have a great influence, are so much worldlier now. I shouldn't have expected time to stand still, but I guess I didn't expect such a great leap forward.
My first impression upon entering Morocco through Rabat airport so many years ago, was that time had indeed taken a holiday. I experienced immediate culture shock. I had left New York (born in Brooklyn) several hours earlier, and entered a time warp, or so it seemed at first. Someone forgot to tell the few of us Navy guys landing in Rabat not to wear our uniforms, so you might imagine the semi-panic of this then 18 year old, to be surrounded by policemen with machine guns and ushered into a room in the arrivals building...to change into civilian clothes. Funny now, but at the time I thought I might be leaving your country very soon and in a much smaller conveyance (with handles on each side) than the one in which I had arrived. The confusion soon ended and the long trip by bus, through Kenitra and on to Sidi Yahia had begun. I initially thought that the year to follow would be a very long and strange one. The truth and experience to follow would be quite different and unforgettable. The enchantment had only just begun for the kid from Brooklyn.
Your wonderful web site caused the memories to come rushing back, although they were revisited often and fondly over the years in my minds eye.