Banana Boy

“Some guys from the hostel are at the bar. I just came back to change. Want to join us?” Asked a German guy in my hostel room. Yes! I was all for people drinking in Morocco. It was relatively difficult to find, at least compared to anywhere else. 
“What happened to your leg?” Asked the guy as he changed. 
“I sprained my ankle,” I responded hoping to avoid the question that would likely follow.

“But how?” There it was. I really wish I’d done it in a cooler way.

“Being stupid. I jumped off a wall wearing heels at a sorority party.” The guy gave me that “you were drunk,” look. I admitted it following with my defense. “I was just in Central America hiking volcanos and before that I snowboarded to work everyday. But then I go to some college party and manage to sprain my ankle.  

As I hobbled along on my crutches, the German guy described his career back home- caring for elderly Alzheimer’s patients. 

“You have to take it with a bit of humor,” he smiled, staring down at the cobbled streets-which by the way were difficult to maneuver as a cripple. He told me the story of 1 little lady who exited the bathroom with a handful of shit. “Where do I put this?” She asked. I chuckled. “When they’re really bad they don’t remember the names of their friends and family. But you can’t be sad about it. You have to take it like a job.” I looked down at the ground in an attempt to process and prevent stumbling. What an admirable outlook. I told the guy that I would love to have a job where I could help people like he did. 

The guy, who’s name was Pescal (he was ethnically French somewhere down the line) explained that he only ended up doing this kind of work in order to avoid the military. He explained that in Germany it’s mandatory to train in the military but that they don’t do anything of value there. So he wrote a letter and was able to exempt himself and instead do this job. Rebel with a cause. 

Pescal waved to 2 men at the bar- 1 looked our age and the other was middle aged. Pescal went up to buy he and I beers. I offered to pay but not aggressively because I figured I could just pay for the next round. 

The bar in Essouira looked similar to the one in Rabat. There were no windows and now women. 

While Pescal was waiting the middle aged man, Steven, began chatting with me. Steven was in Essouira for some music festival about a week ago and loved the small city so much that he’d stayed until now. He was in the art and music industry in Ireland and whatever he did specifically, it seemed that his work schedule was flexible. 

Steven asked me why my crutches look so “old school” as Pescal arrived to the table with our beers. “U.S. health insurance sucks,” I explained. “In Germany you guys get everything, right? Healthcare, housing…”

“Yes but I don’t get it.” Pescal explained that he was banned from the German system because he didn’t inform the tax bureau that he was going abroad and didn’t pay his German taxes while he wasn’t living there. 

“Where did you go?” I asked. 

“I worked on a banana farm in Australia for 2 years and worked in New Zealand for a year.” 

I always wanted to do that,” I exclaimed. “Senior year of college I was sure I was going to move to Australia to pick bananas. I researched all of the fruits and bananas seemed to be the best.” Pescal said that he did the same thing. He loved it and ended up staying 2 years rather than 3 months like he’d planned. And he made $25/hour. And that he was able to party and still save enough to travel Southeast Asia for a while. I was sold! But then again, reminding me about doing something that I always wanted to do was an easy sell. Pescal wrote down the name of the place that he worked. 

The Irish guy wanted to move to the other room that played music instead of tv so we headed into a smaller room. There were 4 other men in the room. One was a wrinkled man with a big toothless grin swaying about. A fifth man entered the room and asked our group for a light. The Italian guy in our group lent the man a lighter. A minute later the man was thrown out. “Nobody likes him here,” explained Pescal. He annoys everyone. 

Next the wrinkled man got a warning for his intoxication level but he was well liked so he wasn’t about to get kicked out. The other 2 guys in the room were drinking a bottle of wine. One of them was wearing a fez. They offered us some wine, which was excellent, and invited us to a club. 

Pescal was hungry so we decided to get falafel. “I’m a vegetarian so I live off of falafel,” explained Pecal. 

“I love falafel!” I said excitedly. On the way to falafel, a man stopped Pescal to ask him about his chest tattoos. He’d gotten them in Indonesia. I thought that they were stupid but they did accent his chiseled pecks. 

 Pescal ordered 3 falafel at the stand- 1 for me and 2 for himself. But I was asked to pay for mine and Pescal only received 2 for himself so the last falafel was a mystery. 

When we got back to the hostel and Pescal began m debating with a Moroccan that worked at the hostel. Pescal was spewing all sorts of world knowledge, definitely stumping the Moroccan guy. I was impressed. Pescal said that he was going to bed so I decided that it was my time too. 

What’s the hardest drug that you’ve ever tried? Did you like it? 

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