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random encounters

One of the myriad things I love about independant travel and road trips is the people you meet along the way.

In Ifni (my third time there, and the second I was staying at the Xanadu), we were met at the hotel by a tall, young blond guy who I knew not to be the owner (I'd already met the latter) and who greated us with an accent I was pretty sure came from somewhere in Switzerland.

Sure enough, he was from Jura, which he'd left on his bike last August, and was helping out at the Xanadu, whose owner was a family friend, for a few days, before cycling on to Dakar through Mauritania. A delightful fellow with great stories to share.

The Xanadu has a wonderful living room/common area stocked with books, mags, games, DVD's - and plugs to charge you electronic stuff. In it was usually a young, tall, thoughtful American fellow. My wife immediately remarked he was just like my younger self ! Daniel was his name from Delaware, and he was enjoying a trip, at the end of a study semester in Meknes I think, all on Uncle Sam's tab because he was studying Arabic.

Spoke it really, really well too and astonishingly he was even able to hold a conversation with my wife speaking colloquial Moroccan. He'd apparently picked it up working in a kitchen in Meknes. We had a great evening of conversation fuelled by Moroccan white wine.

Daniel from Delaware, whose brother is a really tall classical violinist, and who can whip up an amazing tajine, if you happen to read this, then a great big HI from us in Geneva - and get in touch !

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