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Travel

EssaysJohn Massaro

by John Massaro (Note: I wrote this in 2015, intending for it to be presented in some form on a radio program. That didn’t happen, but it did appear on the Web site Whitebiocentrism.com. It’s more an attempt to educate than entertain, to provide a snapshot of everyday life in post-colonial Africa, based…
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EssaysJohn Massaro

Casablanca by John Massaro THERE’S A RAILWAY network connecting the major cities of Morocco but I didn’t use it until the very end. What I had missed! My second-class carriage on the 9AM express to Casablanca was new, spotless, quiet ,and punctual. It would’ve been a great finale to my journey were it…
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EssaysJohn Massaro

Djmaa-el-Fna by John Massaro THESE ARE JUST MUSINGS on my part, but the more I thought about it, the more I surmised that Arabs are a lot like Jews, though on a much smaller and harmless scale. They seem to have evolved in parallel ways over the ages in this region of the world. It’s a Semitic thing. To illustrate…
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EssaysJohn Massaro

by John Massaro I MET HIM ON the way to the CTM bus station in Fez, where I was going to enquire about departures to Azrou, a small Berber town to the south. (When I had arrived in Fez, the driver demanded a “tip” before removing my backpack from the luggage compartment.) I was having trouble communicating…
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EssaysJohn Massaro

This image is from an article at Morocco World News entitled “Global Honesty Index: Moroccans at the Bottom of the List.” by John Massaro MOROCCO IS WITHIN SLINGSHOT range of Spain, just across the Straits of Gibraltar, an hour by ferry from the sleepy port town of Algeciras. If its proximity…
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EssaysJohn Massaro

by John Massaro BEFORE I BEGIN TELLING YOU about Morocco, a country in its own league, let me wrap up my overall impressions of the Arab world, which encompasses a large chunk of the Middle East and stretches across the entire Mediterranean littoral of north Africa and deep into the Sahara Desert. If you’ve…
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EssaysJohn Massaro

Ancient building carved directly into the cliff face in Petra, Jordan by John Massaro THE ANCIENT CITY of Petra is Jordan’s crowning glory. In the fourth century B.C. an obscure tribe, the Nabataeans, and after them the Romans, carved temples, palaces and tombs from the indigenous pink sandstone;…
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EssaysJohn Massaro

by John Massaro SHEM WAS A frail, unattractive man who worked in the quiet [Syrian] government tourist office on Port Said Boulevard. I asked him if Zebdani, a resort town in the Anti-Lebanon Mountains – just a few miles from the Lebanese border – was worth a visit. He said it definitely was,…
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EssaysJohn Massaro

by John Massaro THERE SEEMED TO BE only one hotel in Baniyas, the Hotel Baniyas. Please, oh God, please have a room, I prayed. They did. I showered, took a nap, woke up, read for an hour and went to the market to buy a melon for tomorrow’s breakfast. Seeing me return with one, the manager brought a knife…
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EssaysJohn Massaro

by John Massaro “NUSAYBIN Hudut Kapisi,” the fresh Turkish exit stamp in my passport read. Straight ahead was El Qamishliye, Syria, a remote, sleepy frontier town near the desolate point where Turkey, Syria and Iraq meet. It was 1984 and I was not feeling confident. What was Syria going…
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