Posts Tagged ‘hot Frenchmen’
July 19, 2009
At dusk Hilton & I drove to the Saudi Arabian Border, about 10 kilometers south of Aqaba, where he lives in Jordan. There is something invigorating about borders to me- they represent possibility of something new, and also very clear limitations and rules. Both things that we as humans can be simultaneously intrigued and comforted by. Still, if Saudi Arabia was not so bloody difficult to get into then I could go there. Fact is unless I am accompanied by my brother, husband or father- it is simply a no-go zone for me. That is probably why I want to go so badly.
As Hilton and I watched the sun set over the border crossing the desert mountains turned a pinkish orange behind the border fences. The lights on at the Saudi side of the border crossing gradually flickered on. “Those are Saudi waters, Michelle!” Hilton said, looking away from the lights and pointing to the portion of the Gulf of Aqaba just south of a beach clubs where we are allowed to frolic-and wear what we want- co-ed. I wondered further: what it would be like to actually swim to Saudi?
Hilton and I took a long pause and exchanged a few stories of border crossings. Me, I told him of a time back in 2003 that I convinced myself I would be content with a 2 week holiday in Spain and Portugal at Christmastime. Naturally, I found myself painfully bored with Western Europe, so I came up with a last minute plan to take a ferry boat from Southern Spain to Morocco. As I waited for the ferry to Morocco in Algeciras, Spain I saw a very handsome Frenchman in the terminal wearing a black peacoat, carrying a guitar case. I stole glances at him, wondering what sort of artist/musician he must be, as we went through customs. I sat on the boat for 40 minutes watching out of the corner of my eye as he spoke to a French couple. He glanced over at me- I feigned nonchalance and disinterest, never looking back at him. I assumed he was traveling with the couple. As we were getting off the boat to enter Morocco he left his place in line with the couple and came to the back of the line where I was. “Are you traveling alone?” he asked. Surprised, I nodded. “So am I” he smiled. “Pierre” he put his hand out to shake mine. “Michelle” I must have been blushing. We made small talk as we both entered into our 1st point of entry onto the African continent- Tangier.
Men in long brown long robes with pointy hoods dotted the streets. There was a lack of female presence. It was winter so I bundled my coat and put all of my hair up into a hat. Pierre and I walked through a mud street near the dock, and found a large rusty tea hall, full of men. We ordered hot tea which came in tall glasses full of dark tea, mint leaves, and at least an inch of sugar on the bottom of the glass. Pierre told me about the band he is in Toulouse & how he came to Morocco to see a Moroccan friend who lived on the outskirts of Fes. Pierre was tall and lean; his dark hair was in contrast to his perfect white French skin. He had a boyish smile, and had an air of French chic that was hard to find back home in granola-y, weather-functional Berlin, where I was living at the time.
We eventually boarded a bus for Fes. I was tired, having hardly slept the night before- he explained that he was also exhausted- since he took and an overnight train from Toulouse to Madrid & then onto Algeciras. The bus was not crowded but men and women were seated separately. I sat in 2 vacant seats across the aisle from Pierre, where he sat with his own two vacant seats. I told him I was going to lie down and take a nap. “Okay, or you can lay down in my lap to sleep if you like.” That was pretty bold. I was not about to refuse that offer, since it felt almost like a dare. I scooted over to where he was. We only knew eachother about 2 hours at that point so it was a bit awkward to go ahead and put my head in his lap, like I have my mother or long-term boyfriends when i want nurturing. As soon as I did he began playing with my hair. My neck. My back. My upper legs. His touch was delicate, but arousing; it conveyed more care than I thought could be allotted considering we did not know eachother at all. The tension built. I sat up. We began making out. I took a scarf and put it over our heads to try to hide what we were doing. Afterwards he put his head in my lap. He played with my knees. He pulled up my pant legs and stroked my calves. It was too bad we were on a public bus- in an Islamic country.
When we arrived in Fes his friend was waiting for him. His friend gave me his home phone number in the village he was taking Pierre to. Pierre kissed me goodbye, and said see you again- soon “call me.” I skipped away, excited by what had happened, even more thrilled about what was to come and in awe of how life can change and be so interesting in a matter of minutes. I kept thinking back to the sound of his voice and accent as I walked about a mile to find a hotel to stay in. The next morning- after fantacizing about him all night- I tried to call his friend’s home. The phone number was a defunct number- there was a number missing. My heart sank. I thought about sending him an email but we never even exchanged email addresses. I did not even know his last name. I contacted the border police to see if they could tell me the last name of a Frenchman by the name of Pierre who had arrived by ferry the day before at about 1PM. No luck. I felt lonelier than before I met Pierre- because now there was this unexpressed emotion. This stirred up sensuality. What was worse was wondering that perhaps Pierre even asked his friend to give me the wrong phone number. Maybe he did not like the way that I smelled or kissed? My insecurities deafened the chaos of the souks, and washed out the pungent colors of the mosques.
Two days later in a museum in Marakesh I heard a woman with French accent say my name “Michelle- hello! Michelle!” it was the female half of the couple Pierre was talking to on the ferry- I had met them briefly through Pierre as we were disembarking. “How are you and Pierre doing?” she asked me with a smile suggesting a bit of oo-la-la. “I don’t know- the last time I saw him was when we arrived at the Fes bus station.” Auriele went on to explain that she knew Pierre from high school- and that on the ferry from Spain was the first time that they had seen one another in about 10 years- by chance. It hit me that this woman could help me find him “What is his last name?!” “You can remember this easily- because his last name is a French word meaning fear- Effroy.” “Effroy– Effroy” I repeated her while jotting it down in large letters in my Morocco guide book. Back in Berlin, I had a French friend call French Yellow Pages inquiring into Pierre’s whereabouts. “I am very sorry Michelle- there are no Pierre Effroys listed” my romance-inspired French friend broke the news, as crushed as I was. I had to give it up. And I did.
Fast forward to Jordan nearly 6 years later: the story inspired Hilton so much that he went home & google searched Pierre. I guess a lot has changed, technology-wise, in the past 6 years… We found him on youtube- we listened to him sing, read reviews of his band, and saw his myspace page. “Write him right now!” Hilton excitedly demanded. I jotted down Pierre’s email from his myspace page. On grainy footage, I watched his lean body fold over his guitar- his cheekbones lit up by the stage light. I have not written Pierre yet and may not. I still love borders and romance. Combine the two and I can barely contain myself. But Pierre was not my first border romance & he was not the last. Still, I do not know why I brought that particular story up to Hilton- as we sat at the Saudi border in Jordan after the sun went down- but it was great to see someone else as excited about Pierre as I once was.
- Some photos from Misrata… stories to follow.
- The Boat to Misrata (Libya): Men’s quarters vs. Women’s quarters
- Why I had to visit Misrata (Libya).
- Greetings from Benghazi, Libya
- Just another day in Cairo…