One more thing I love about Morocco - I personally find it extremely difficult, if not impossible to be cheated in this country. Overcharged? yes, but I rather think that is the fault of the buyer nes pa? You do your research, look about, decide what you are willing to pay then enter the negotiations in the true spirit of the game. It's a lot like gambling, even when you lose the game itself was bloody entertaining.
Reasons I make a wake in Morocco: I am taller than almost all the women, my red hair, my hats, but most of all is the pace of my walk. The people here most sensibly move at a slow pace as suits the weather. I am a Highlander, I walk with the stride of my ancestors meant to distance hills and small mountains. I have tried to slow myself, one would think age would be of assistance but no-o-o-o-o. It could be worse right? I mean there are worse faults.
T is off to Fez on the morrow for a wedding of our friend Miriam's sister, and some shopping. her birthday is on 4 May and I am giving her a rug. She will do the shopping as she knows what she wants and is a sharp and able bargainer. I am having her bring back a large rug for the upstairs bedroom as well. We also enjoy giving business to our friend Mohammad at the Coin Berberb in the Fez Medina. That is where I bought my "princess coat". I put a photograph above. It is actually not a coat but a kaftan handmade for some big royal to-do fifty to eighty years ago. It is silk brocade and all the buttons and clasps are handmade. I decided to wear it as a coat; I love it! It was an extravagance but once the father of Mohammad, himself an antique, cut the price to 1/4 what he was asking and 1/5 of what he had sold one the week before (yes I do have data to validate the claim) because of my hair, I had to buy it. It would have been terribly ill mannered to do otherwise; and it fits perfectly. See the redhead smile?
I watched "Flightplan" today. Really quite excellent. I had not viewed it before because frankly I thought it would be boring, not so. Ah Morocco home of cheap DVD's. Who knew? And Rabat is the capital in more ways than one. While in Marrakesh I found "Mr & Mrs Smith" in English. When I tried to buy it, they wanted FIFTY DHS! It was a great lesson in the economics of tourism when in reply to my, "Oh my goodness. You know in Rabat where I live they are only ten dirhams apiece." the young man replied smiling, "Oh but Madame THIS is Marrakesh!"
My DVD collection which was substantial to begin with has almost doubled. I am amazed at how quickly they arrive. I had just read a bad review of "Next" and the very same day saw it in "digital alley". Some of them I have had to wait for to get the English. I have only secured "The Queen" with Helen Mirren this day. I mean really you just can't watch it in French, well not if you're British!
T returned from lunch with the fabulous and always informative Suzanne to tell me some latest gossip on the 'street'. Delicious, and not surprising. I however only pass along good news.
Suzanne is an American and representative of all that is best I think. She is an entrepreneur, multilingual, and has a questioning spiritual outlook. She is lovely physically and has the high energy of a cosmic fragment! Business, the doing of and creating a market for, is her passion, and she does it to perfection. T has some good shopping tips from her. I am thinking she is the one we should ask for advice on the new couches I am determined to have in the very near future.
My priorities are the table set for the terrace, a nice table for downstairs with covered stools and cushions, an armoire to replace "the horrid yellow thing with cubbyholes" in my bedroom, and a microwave. Oh and that lovely thin television screen for the DVD watching - of which we have many! If I stay through the winter I shall see about assisting Abdul in the replacement of the glass ceiling. I can live with the dripping when it rains and the two windows that won't quite close, but I'd rather not.
Rabat has more dwarfs, less djellabas on the street, less apothecaries, more gardens and trees, less cleaners, more paved roads and sidewalks, more tourists (outside my door!).
I went to the bank today to discover that the street on the other side of Mohammad V is completely buggered! Not the street per se, for the cars but the sidewalks on both sides down to the dirt. I was surprised as they looked fine before and the ones in Fez are rocks and dirt and frequent pot holes.
When I was in MA visiting C. this little scene occured:
C.: "B woke up this morning, we were in the den and he said, 'Man I am just stiff all over'.”
C: “So I said, “Quick, shouldn’t we be getting back to the bedroom?”
As they are in their seventies it gives me hope.
Going outside with Cathy, 1 April 2007.
Me: "Smell that? I’m telling you it smells like fresh gingerbread, like nutmeg."
Cathy: sniffs. "No, what you do smell is Spring coming to New England. That’s what New England Spring smells like."
T had her mobile phone stolen while we were in Fez. She takes responsibility as she went out with it stuck in her back pocket. Some youngster lifted it from her pocket, threw it to his friend, and made off. Apparently they (being thieves in general) have a methodology of removing the call card (?) and replacing it. I learned this after I called her mobile several hundred times and left the message that I would pay them the price of the mobile to return it as she needed the numbers. Apparently it was already in the wind.
AH Kara is apparently the place to go for furniture. A taxi ride away says Pam.
T’s conversation with the Moroccan girls at the 'after the wedding' party where she was shocked at their frankness about sex and men. There is apparently a “deflowering” song, yes, they actually still call it deflowering here. The song was being enacted by the six year old daughter of the sister of the bride. The words “cunt”, “pussy”, and the discussion of anal sex were on the venue. They had all read, and had copies of the Kama Sutra. My poor little American child felt quite undone.
1945 British Roadster and the 1934 Triumph Gloria Six - are two of the great cars of all time for looks.
It wasn’t books that changed my life, nor my love of a good man, or anyone’s god, it was the baby
Great quote from T: “You really get to know someone once money is involved.”
To live outside your skin is a way of life that takes practice.
The South Carolina contingent at the Villa continues to cause chaos. Showing their own ignorance they had Neal and Caroline banned from the Villa “because they are tying up the bandwidth”. You have to have over two hundred fucking people before it slows down the bandwidth. That group embodies "the Ugly American" syndrome.
Tamara’s parents are both M.D.s; one is a GI and one is infectious diseases. Very useful when you are traveling in third world countries. Her father lives in Belize. Her mother is in southern California and is something of a hippy. Tamara started her own business to pay for the surgery she has to have on both knees at the age of nineteen. She is a South African - Valley Girl hybrid. Quite a combination. In addition to being physically lovely she is bright, funny, and compassionate. We enjoyed getting to know her while she was in Fez.
Matilda is in Damascus now. I think Cat and Toba are still there. Sally is in Cairo. All pursuing the Arabic language...