Last week I went to Marrakesh, Morocco to shoot a wedding. I will probably do multiple posts about this trip but while I wait for the film to be developed (yep, film) I thought I would get some thoughts down about my experience there. I admit now (as I admitted to many friends before) that I was really scared of going. I have been very lucky to have traveled quite a bit over the years but this was my first time leaving my kids for an entire week and it was my first time setting foot on African soil. Somehow that all felt very overwhelming and scary. In the couple of days before I left, I ran around borrowing suitcases and outlet transformers from various friends, and it seemed that everyone had a cautionary tale for me. A few friends in particular who had spent time in Morocco had long and drawn out stories of being manipulated and taken advantage of. So I boarded the plane not with my usual sense of adventure but with a serious amount of dread and foreboding. The flight, however, was smooth and I managed to get to my hotel (after paying way too much to have a teen age boy lead me through what seemed like an endless labyrinth of alleyways to my hotel). The first thing I did was retrace my steps in and out of my neighborhood (twice), to make sure I could find my hotel by myself. Then, even though I felt tired and paranoid and sad to be away from my family, I still had to eat so I wandered into a bakery and enjoyed some of the most delicious yogurt I have ever had accompanied by some yummy mint tea. Arabic was spoken everywhere and the majority of the men and woman dressed in traditional galabiyyas and hijabs. I felt awkward, but gradually I remembered myself and started making eye contact with the people around me and greeting them in the couple of arabic words I learned on the plane (and, mercifully, in French). I am not sure why I was so surprised, but I really was, that people responded to me with bright smiles and open hearts. Thinking about it on the plane home, a line from What was I Scared of? a great Dr. Seuss book came to mind: "...I began to see that I was just as strange to them as they were strange to me!" I guess that, even as an adult, I still need to relearn this lesson from time to time and after I did, I discovered all sorts of amazing people and things. More on that when the film comes back.