Memories can be vague and misrepresented when reflected in a rear view mirror. As a run-up to our upcoming visit to Morocco and Egypt, I rummaged through photos, tickets, and postcards in a dusty trunk in our storage unit where the past is stored. A storage unit is more accurate than the storage cabinet in my head when locating memories. After shuffling envelopes, negatives, boxes of work papers, video recorders and suitcases, eventually, I found momentos from my overseas trip through North Africa and Europe in 1977.
I couldn't find photos, although there were plenty of slides (remember slides), Super 8 movies (I do recall carrying many rolls of Super 8 film that gave me 3 minutes and 20 seconds of filmed footage per 50ft), a few handwritten notes about travel destinations, typewritten travel agendas (yes, typed on a typewriter), and postcards to family recalling my experiences.
Passport Stamps (Don't Panic! The passport number is not valid. It was Cancelled decades ago.) Seriously, you didn't think I would reveal my 1977 passport photo. I'll leave it to you to fill in the blanks.
It was a time when Australian passports--yes, I did find my original passport from that time--with immigration stamps from Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. My passport stated I was an Australian Citizen and British Subject, although, since that time, Australian passports for many years have identified us as Australian citizens wholly and solely. I have a number of passports across the years with all the immigration stamps and visas that make passports a form of time travel and serve to draw memories from past journeys.
I will never forget the acrid smell of a tannery in Fez or was it Marrakech or maybe Casablanca. I'm sure we will reconnect with those aromas! You can't photograph a smell. But it lingers in my memory decades later. Another memory recounts how our tour bus was broken into in Marrakech. The driver was angry and trying to sort out the bus among all the gawkers pushing and shoving to see what had happened when a man stepped onto the bus. It infuriated the driver and he shoved the man off the bus unceremoniously. That man was the police commissioner. The bus driver was arrested; the guide took control of driving duties. The driver eventually joined the journey days later after representations to the police commissioner by the Australian Embassy. This handwritten note recalls my first memories when arriving in Morocco.
Then there was the cold potato soup at the end of a long day's drive through soaking rains when we got lost. When we finally arrived at our accommodation and tried to identify the soup, someone said it was vegetable soup. I said it tasted like potato soup, not a chunky vegetable soup. A fellow traveller, whose name I remember but won't identify to protect the soup, retorted, "Since when is potato not a vegetable". I changed drinking partners after that in case she said grapes are not wine, although, on this journey, it was more like sangria, lots of sangria, enough sangria to turn our gills green. Hey, it was 1977 and my drinking partner, Ray, literally turned green on the hovercraft crossing across the English Channel from Dover to France on the morning after the night of sangria .
Anyway, these are a few reflections and images from that time in 1977 as we embark on a journey to reintroduce ourselves to the wonders of Morocco and Egypt in 2022. Decades later, we will visit new locations in Morocco and Egypt rather than hark about where we had been. New locations, new towns, new experiences, new travel buddies. See you there.
A typewritten list of hotels we stayed in during my 1977 trip to North Africa
& a few postcard memories
Postcard postmarks & the 1977 North African itinerary