Tangier: About Maggie

4 06 2012

I love short getaways… just enough days to recharge my batteries and grin happily thinking about how good it feels to be young and without major obligations.

We went to Tangier to finish celebrating Dipika’s B-day and while we had a great lazy time walking around the city, the markets and the Mediterranean Sea, the best part was meeting Maggie. For me it felt like she was the beating heart of the city, with her big smile and even bigger life experience. The fact that she owns Bilbo the Cat is a bonus. I am crazy about cats and the snobbish tomcat made me smile more times that I could count… By the end of our staying he was treating Rachel with love and me with that sort of “You are my servant so I will be nice with you” attitude that I find so endearing in cats 🙂

Maggie 🙂

Maggie lives in Tangier for about 18 year now and although 3 days and 3 nights weren’t enough to capture her beautiful life story, she sure provided me enough food for thought. On her map she can mark India, Spain, Lebanon, Hong Kong, US, Canada and 10s of other countries and I found myself for many moments envying her courage and life experience. I thought Barcelona would be the highlight of my spring but Maggie and Tangier were the cherry and the cake both.

Maggie has this bed and breakfast… The house is breathtaking when you look at the details and the breakfast is one fit for the kings. Simple, tasty, fresh, homemade with Moroccan and continental flavors so well combined that I could eat and eat and eat away… A group of foodies like us, we made sure to appreciate every taste and every bite.

Going back to the house, it has a roof terrace and sitting on a “sezlong” and watching the sea is sure one of the highlights of our trip. Our room was simple and inviting. It smelled of history and if you can’t appreciate that, then maybe Maggie’s place is not for you. The tiles on the floor are different colors and she has books and magazines from different years… Those articles you never have time to catch up with… Maggie’s house is a great place for it. I loved the books, the cat., the floor, the bathtub and the shower head looking like a telephone from another day and age. And the list can go on…

We loved the house so much that none of us felt very active… We lazed around, spending very little money but with the maximum of enjoyment. Rach received a marriage proposal from a very nice older man but she realized that being the “second wife” is not one of her dreams. 😛 I borrowed a funny looking white hat from Maggie and with my pink glasses I was soon mistaken for Lady Gaga… I am still not sure if it was meant as a compliment. 😀 I also seem to look British or Australian… or maybe I am just white 😛 Be prepared with sunscreen if you visit. The back of my neck still feels a bit tender after half a day without sunscreen.

While other people enjoy the music of the cities with busy streets, I sure appreciated the calmness of Tangier and the feeling of safety I had walking around. The food is amazing and Maggie knows all the best places. Of course, everybody knows Maggie and it made us smile when people were sending her their greetings. I guess it sometimes feels good to live in a small community. Of course, being different makes you easier to be recognized… But I guess Maggie’s charm is what makes her beloved and appreciated and not the fact that she is a Scottish lady in the country of spices, leather and mint tea.

Bilbo

Maggie’s appearance and style made me think about my grandmothers. While she has the looks of my father’s mother, more prominent was the fierceness reminding me of my mother’s mother. But just a little touch, enough to make me think of what I lost and what I’ve left at home… But while in India more that often I was thinking of home, Brussels agrees with me and we have a lovely relationship 😛

What I loved most about Maggie was her matter of fact attitude and the courage of living that so many of us sometimes lack. She is close to 68 and I don’t image that 40-50 years ago it was very easy to travel the world and make a living as an independent woman. I am constantly asking myself if I made the right decision, doubting some choices and mourning some loses. In Tangier I realized once again that it’s a stupid thing to do and I haven’t lost much in the process of growing up and discovering what I want. I also realized that while I love Brussels, I miss being challenged on a daily basis, I miss being the different one in a sea of smiling people. I am not one to settle as yet and I although admire and appreciate all my friends life choices I am not them and I will never be… I want to thank Maggie for that. Unknowingly she reminded me why I love life and travelling so much.

I guess this is becoming a bit long and as focused as it is on Maggie and Tangier, it is also a bit too self-reflective.

One last thing! Go to Tangier, stay at Maggie’s, and fall in love with her, her house and her cat. Eat sea food by the port, take a long walk through the city, encourage the local economy with a bit of very qualitative shopping and enjoy life… Don’t live it postponing the things that are important to you. The new furniture you wish to buy for your new house will be there also in 6 months. It is not worth it and it never will be. Invest in travelling… It’s the smartest thing a person can do, even if it is for 3 days somewhere close to home…

Loving life from Brussels,
Yours truly 😀

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2 responses

18 07 2013
Amit

hi Alexandra,

I started reading your blog today and felt an instant connection ! I am same age as yours , also an immigrant and bitten by travel bug, and at the point in life where I am struggling to make a decision on whether to stick to a place and make a career for myself, or travel the world to follow my dream.

It just felt good to know that I am not alone !!

18 07 2013
Alexandra

Thank you Amit 🙂 Best of luck with making the choice 🙂

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