In my last posts I mentioned a girl named Cindy. Who is Cindy? I don’t even know where to start with this one. Let’s just say she’s a crazy banana cupcake gypsy lady. And she dances with fire fans.

About a month ago, I got this interesting message in my inbox on the couchsurfing website. This random chick was like, “Hey I know this is super last minute but I’ll be in your city tomorrow and I need a place to sleep. I’ve been traveling around Morocco alone and I’m SO over staying with dudes. If you can let me spend the night, I’d totally appreciate it.”  Ok, fine. I can completely relate to the traveling alone in a foreign country thing. So I checked out her profile and turns out she’s from California, too. So far so good. Under her “Occupation” section, it said: Bartender, Jeweler, Bellydancer, Photographer, Teacher, and  Dirt Bag. I loved her already. Then I checked out her Music section and that was prettymuch the deal sealer. Among her faves are Digable Planets, Billie Holiday, Gangstarr, Sade, Portishead, Tom Waits, and Prefuse 73. I was already sold. I responded back with, “Hey you seem like just the person I need to meet. I can tell we’re gonna get along right away.”  Was I right? Tooooootes!

At a music festival in Essaouira, Morocco

The first night I met her at the bus station and helped her carry her 700 lbs of backback crap to my house. We ended up laughing right away and stayed up allllll night talking till like 5am. She immediately distributed her stuff in my guest bedroom and started moving the beds around to make herself a little nest of blankets. She currently sleeps in there every night with her head upside down and covered in a thin green blanket she stole from an airplane.

Before she came to Morocco, she was on a life adventure. A year and a half ago, she got sick of  the US and decided to do what I did—pack everything up and just bounce. Her first stop was Egypt. She lived there and sold jewelry to pay her rent. Big fancy house? Nope. Cruddy apartment? Nope. Hostel? Nope. She lived in a tiny hut made of palm tree leaves and bamboo sticks somewhere on the banks of the Red Sea. Every day she’d wake up, lay on the beach and then work at night. As you can imagine, that lifestyle can really tire a girl out after a while. Four months later it was time to say goodbye to Egypt.  Next stop: Jordan.

When I asked her what she did while she lived in Jordan she said, “Nothing. Just chilled.” I was like, “yeah, but did you work?”  “Nope. Just chilled. …and went to art shows.”  So I suppose that sums up her life in Jordan. She stayed with her friend Omar that she apparently knew from California. After a few months in Jordan, she packed up her bags and on went on to the next location: Lebanon.

Lebanon was her home for a while and when she was there she sold some jewelry here and there and basically just continued her job as full-time chill princess. I’m sure she dazzled everyone in her path along the way and turned things upside down wherever she went. You see, the thing about Cindy is that she always speaks her mind, calls people out on their bs, and gets ALL up in the mix—but she does it so politely that you can’t possibly get mad. She just has this way of speaking loudly and assertively with a huge smile on her face so you don’t know if she’s pissed, annoyed, super happy, or if she just thinks you’re a total moron. Either way, she tells it like it is and gets what she wants.

She jetted from Jordan and headed to Turkey, leaving a trail of glitter dust behind her footsteps. While she was there she taught bellydance classes, ate an obnoxious amount of chestnuts and shwarma, and became smitten with a DJ. She lived in a neighborhood that was about as far from her Santa Barbara roots as you can get. According to her, it was full of  tall buildings run by shady slumlords and decorated with overflowing dumpsters. “Dude,  this place was UNNNNreal. I was totally living in the nstiest ghetto neighborhood in all of Istanbul. It was full of  scumbags, drug dealers, prostitutes, rapists, transvestites…and me.” She used to get a kick out of the trannies in the the early hours of the day—“You should’ve seen them in the mornings with last night’s makeup still on!”  Despite all this, she loved being in Turkey. She sold some jewelry to vintage boutiques in different neighborhoods of the city,  bellydanced, taught English, and of course…just chilled.

A friend of hers was about to get married in Spain so she once again packed everything up and headed out. The girl getting married was her best friend from childhood of many  years and their moms were also best friends growing up. Cindy’s mom and the friend’s mom both flew to Spain for the wedding and it was the first time Cindy saw her mom in about a year. After hearing the “When are you gonna settle down?” speech, she stayed for a few days with her mom and then headed to lovely Morocco.

At first she traveled around Morocco alone and stayed in places like Fez, Marrakech, Rabat, and the sleepy beach city of Essaouira. She met quite a few interesting people along her way and  I’m sure she managed to enchant the Moroccan men. She’s like a tourist who’s not a tourist. She dives head-first and doesn’t let people get in her way. Maybe they’re afraid of her—or at least intrigued. She wears her curly hair in a big puff on the top of her head and shoves 2 chopsticks in it. Further down, you can see gigantic hoop earrings in her ears accompanied by pink marble sliced rocks or sometimes leather feathers. She wears rings on every finger, jazzes up her outfits with brightly colored scarves, and is covered in tattoos—including giant peacock feathers inside her left arm. She wears a custom hand-made leather fanny pack with all her stuff in their appropriate compartments and you can always find a heart-shaped key dangling from her neck.

The best part about Cindy is that she’s a goofball like me. That’s why we get along so well. For example, we were on our way to the souk one day and we found this crazy playground with a strange spinning teeter-totter thing. I was like, “Dude! Let’s go on that thing!” Of course she agreed and we were spinning around and laughing like little girls.


We get to the souk and she’s wandering around by herself looking for amusement. She finds it in the form of an antique ukelele (you-ka-LAY-lee) or however you spell it. I’m at a little shop around the corner and I suddenly hear this voice. I put down what I was looking at and become determined to find out where it’s coming from. I should’ve known. Of COURSE it’s Cindy. She’s sitting in the shop owner’s chair, strumming the mini guitar, and in the style of Tiny Tim is singing, “I’m a geeeeeeeenie in a bottle, ya gotta rub me the right waaaaaay.” She’s full-on singing every word in the slowest, most serious voice like it’s a love ballad. Of course nobody understands a word she’s saying. I on the other hand am dying laughing, tears streaming down my face. I managed to get her out of there and on to the next one. It’s like a 5-year old leading a 5-year old.
"I'm a geeeenie in a bottle..."

She finds humor in the same things as me and we are constantly laughing when we’re together. See picture below for one an example.
Caption not required.

How can you not love this face?

We both blurt out random things and then look at eachother and crack up. She once asked me all serious, “Do you wanna join the urban goat community?”  which of course I responded with “Yeah, duh.” A few other things about Cindy: She is really good at doing impersonation of the NYC subway rats, she balances swords on her head, she knows how to smell plants, she likes going to the sardine factory, sometimes she does “turtle neck”, and she’s a self-proclaimed “pasty gray Mexican” who like to be home alone and shhhhhhimmmmy.
Did I mention she's good at stabilizing ladders?

Hitchhiking to Taghazout.

There are so many things I’m leaving out but I’ll add things to future blogs so you can get a taste of what it’s like to be around that ding-dong all day every day. She’s here till whenever but I have a feeling she’ll stay in my heart forever.
Ohhh, Cindy-Bindy...

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Aisling said...

So cute and funny! :)

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GADEL said...

This is an interesting blog. I hope to visit Morocco someday. I am nearer to Morocco than you. I live in Ghana, West Africa. Cheers!

TammySzulc said...

I love this this post about your adventures with Cindy!! She sounds like a ham that I would love!!