It’s spelled “Taghazout”. But we pronounced it “Tara – Zoot”.
We, in this case, would be a ragtag band of international “travelers” attracted to a small fishing village with low rents and cheap highs.
The majority of inhabitants were Berber tribespeople. However, a savvy landlord had saved a couple of clay houses for people like us.
There was no electricity in the village and, in our house, no furniture but I don’t recall ever being bored.
One of the young Americans had brought a variety of books with him. I remember reading several books of science fiction and Aleksandr Solzhenityn’s Cancer Ward during the day on the beach.
We gathered to watch the sunset on top of the roof of the house in which we were staying. (A North African sunset is one of the wonders of the natural world. Think of a layered dessert with various hues of blue, crimson, lemon yellow and pink. The awesome beauty of such a cosmic event left us all astounded. (Someone yelled “Encore! Encore!” I commented that God should have signed his name at the bottom.)
We had what we liked to call “tagine” for supper (that meant a bunch of vegetables purchased at neighboring stalls in the village and cooked in a pot with boiling water.)
After supper we would sit around the common room in the dark listening to rock tapes on a battery powered cassette player and smoke lungfuls of hashish. This was back in my druggie days. (Today I don’t ingest anything stronger than Advil.) The Vietnam vets told war stories, others would talk about brushes with police forces in various countries, a couple of Brits told us horror stories about buying hashish in Ketama (by all accounts, an extremely dangerous Moroccan settlement) and the Icelanders – in halting English – would tell us about life in their country. In our own way, I guess you could say we discovered the lost art of conversation.
One evening someone came up with the bright idea of mixing several grams of hashish with cookie crumbs and calling the stuff “hash brownies”. The assembled group ate it in spoonfuls. I discovered rather belatedly that I had ingested a bit too much when I looked at the moon shining on the whitewashed walls of the village. To me, they looked like sheets on a clothesline, fluttering in the wind. I stumbled into one of the village cafes, only to see the candles on nearby tables slowly bending while Frank Zappa played on a cassette deck in the background. Needless to say, it took me awhile to find my way back to the house that evening.
One night, while I was resting in my sleeping bag on the hard concrete floor of the “bedroom” I shared with several other people in the house, I noticed the French girl sleeping on the floor in the same room. I was idly curious but I was so besotted with the girl I had met back on the homefront (who was supposedly saving money to join me in the spring) that I left the young Frenchwoman alone. (That night I dreamed my girlfriend had just arrived in Amsterdam and I was running to meet her. Little did I dream then that she was spending most of her time with the man who would become her future husband.)
To Be Continued