A city built Backwards
Trip Start Aug 06, 2008
39Trip End Ongoing
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On today's day trip, I start out even earlier, heading out at a quarter to six. The reason? I’ve realized that this journey is not just about how many towns I visit in a semester—it’s also about how many hours I spend on the road, how many miles I cover and how many memories I create. All these are measureable ways that I can check to see if the pace of my Journey is increasing or waning. And I’m feeling the itch to push myself a little harder… so if I can’t increase the number of towns I visit, well, then I’ll increase the number of hours I spend out on the road.
I arrive in Temara with a clear objective: to reach Tamesna on foot
Suddenly I see a sign that says "Commune Mers el Kheir" and there’s a forest of street lights and streets—but no houses. This must be the place I ended up in back in 2008B when I was trying to retake my clip of Temara and stayed on the bus too long. Turns out I wasn’t in Temara at all! So obviously I have to explore this place—since I already have the video clip for it.
Mers El Kheir is a town built backwards. The main divided boulevard into town and surrounding blocks are completely empty. But once you go in farther, there are blocks of homes along the perimeter… a bit odd… normally towns start from the center and work their way outwards. There are utility boxes everywhere showing that this area was designated as residential, but there’s no one here.
The built up area has a middle, lower middle class feel, with modest two storey houses, most of them still unpainted, but a few with a classy finish
Contributing to Truancy in Mers el Kheir
Satisfied with my tour of the town, I head back through the empty sector back up to the highway, pass the school section with a primary, secondary and high school. A couple of boys sitting in the shade invite me to come and strum and I figure I might as well—after all I still need to do my Mers el Kheir concert. They’re an appreciative audience and I play well over my 5 song minimum as the crowd gets bigger and bigger. Then the primary school sends the kids out on break and I suddenly have perhaps my largest crowd ever for an unplugged event!
Unfortunately they’re drowning me out with their noise, so the concert has to be called off and the original group of fellows invite me to go look for a quieter venue…
I’m not quite sure what to do about giving out CDs as I obviously don’t have enough for everyone—nor do I want to start handing out CDs like candy
I ask them if they’re supposed to be in school, “Oh, when you showed up, school went out the window”. I’m not sure if I should feel proud or ashamed of myself.
A couple of them try to insist that I stick around for lunch, but I explain that I want to continue on to Tamesna… so a couple of them decide to join me for the hike, taking turns “playing” the guitar, singing and dancing as we parade down the street.
A very memorable experience here in Mers el Kheir.