The first morning in M'Diq, I was awoken by the call to prayer. It was sung over a crackling loudspeaker, blared through the city still cloaked by the darkness of night. The sound was solemn and beautiful with words that I didn't understand, but I felt the call all the same. It was time to explore.
The song ended and silence descended once again, only to be broken moments later by the crowing of a rooster. I dressed and showered quickly, and somewhere in between all of this, I realized that sun still hadn't risen yet and our hotel was on the beach. Normally when I go to the beach for the summer, I don't exactly want to drag myself out of bed at 6:00 to watch the sunrise--however pretty it may be. But here, something was different. I felt an energy coursing through my veins and driving me forward. I was giddy with excitement and gratitude at the fact that I was in Morocco—in Africa! I grabbed my camera and room key and walked down the winding stairs to the lobby. The man at the reception desk gave me a quizzical look as I approached, which only increased when I asked him what time the sunrise was.
“Right now,” he answered in broken English. When I asked again for confirmation, he admitted that he didn’t speak English very well.
“Habla español?” I suggested. He nodded gratefully and we continued our conversation.
“You want to go outside?” he asked.
“Yes,” I told him. He said that it wasn’t a good idea for me to go outside alone right now, because it was still early and there weren’t very many people outside yet. I was taken aback. But what was I thinking? Did I really believe that I could just stroll outside at 6:30 in the morning, alone, as a woman in Morocco? He suggested that I wait until 7, and then I could go.
I thanked him and prowled around the hotel for the next fifteen minutes, searching for a window—something—so that I could see the sea. This was turning into an impossible task! I finally went back to the room and woke up Sam. I had to see the sunrise! She, being the true friend that she is, obliged and got ready as I bounced up and down on the bed in anticipation.
We headed back downstairs, and he waved us on to go outside. We walked through the doors to the terrace and saw it.
A band of vibrant peach stretched across the horizon, painted with gold, blue, and purple. Seagulls flew over the sea, black silhouettes against the canvas of the sky. Boats of fisherman shoved into the water, preparing for the day’s labors. The only sound we could hear was the crash of the waves on the shore in endless repetition. Gazing out at it the sunrise, all I could feel was the pure happiness in the fact that I was able to experience this moment. It’s funny—sunrises happen everyday, yet every single one is different.
In the peace of the morning, we watched the sun rise over the Mediterranean Sea.