Thoughts of Travel

J.Zlomke:Wyo :Wanderer

Bazaar in Marrakesh Photo: J.Zlomke/Wyo /Wanderer

Today is Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

Lately, I’ve been listening to some of the tunes that I loved in my early twenties.  I only just barely appreciated Crosby, Stills & Nash back then, but I appreciate them even more now, and that’s true for a lot of songs sung by other artists, as well.  Probably the biggest reason is that I can now listen to them with headphones, so I can hear the song clearly.  In addition, the songs are now mastered in stereo.  Back then, many of us still listened to records with monaural sound (everything comes from the same speaker) rather than stereo (some sounds come from one speaker and other sounds come from the other speaker.)  I do remember when stereo sound was introduced, when I was in second grade or so, but many of us used older equipment.  I was still buying “records” even as late as the early 70s, although audiotapes were the rage.  Now I have trouble listening to my tapes, and need to upgrade to CDs.  Instead of doing that, for the most part, I listen on the computer, thanks to the many music-lovers who post their (and my) favorites on YouTube.

The other reason that I appreciate some of that music even better today is that the people who wrote these songs were older than I was, and had more experiences.   Now that I’ve had some of the same experiences, I really resonate with the songs in a way that I couldn’t do when I was younger.

Just the other day, I listened to the upbeat sounds of “Marrakesh,” written by Graham Nash.  It was released on Crosby, Stills, & Nash’s debut album, the title of which is the name of the band.  It was one of two songs that reached the top 40 and the album as a whole shot the band to instant stardom.  Grahm Nash actually traveled on the Marrakesh Express from Casablanca to Marrakesh in 1966.  The lyrics of the song perfectly describe the sights and sounds of his experience and how he felt about the trip.  In an interview with Rolling Stone, Nash said he traveled in a first-class compartment, but found it boring, so he went back to the third-class car.  That’s where the “ducks and pigs and chickens” were, along with their rural owners.  I haven’t been able to find a picture of a third-class car online, but I did see a second-class one, and it seemed a bit crowded.  Things might be a bit different, today, as well.  In any event, when you’re young and healthy, you go for the experience, not for the comfort.

For those of you who are too young or too old to have heard (or paid attention to) this song, here’s a recordingon YouTube.

“Marrakesh Express”  (Graham Nash)

Looking at the world through the sunset in your eyes
Traveling the train through clear Moroccan skies
As ducks and pigs and chickens call
Animal carpet wall to wall
American ladies five-foot tall in blue

Sweeping cobwebs from the edges of my mind
Had to get away to see what we could find
And hope the days that lie ahead
Bring us back to where they’ve led
Listen not to what’s been said to you

Wouldn’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
Wouldn’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
They’re taking me to Marrakesh
All aboard the train, all aboard the train

I’ve been saving all my money just to take you there
I smell the garden in your hair

Take the train from Casablanca going south
Blowing smoke rings from the corners of my mouth
Colored cottons hang in the air
Charming cobras in the square
Striped djellebas we can wear at home (Oh, let me hear you now)

Wouldn’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
Wouldn’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
They’re taking me to Marrakesh

Wouldn’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
Wouldn’t you know we’re riding on the Marrakesh Express
They’re taking me to Marrakesh
All on board the train, all on board the train
All on board

The song brings to mind some of the exciting sights and sounds that I experienced when I lived in Japan.  I wish I had been able to visit places like Morocco, as well, but when I was young, that was a pretty dangerous thing to do for women.  Oh, well, I still have my own memories of world travel, and this song brings them back to me even though my memories are of a different country.  🙂


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