The wedding in Ghana: A was sent cola nuts and a cough drop for the invitation. If he accepted he ate either the cola nut or the cough drop. We don’t know how the family extending the invitation knows if you ate them. I suppose if you don’t want to go, you leave the invitation outside the front opening? The tradition at the wedding is to either kill the goat, let him go, or keep him. They kept him which is all to the good excepting he lives in the patch of grass outside A’s window and bleats until midnight. Such is the price of prosperity.
In the Rabat Medina on my walk home I saw two young boys standing about four or five meters outside an open hannut, and in their hands they each held four thick threads, balancing the two hands to keep the eight lines of thread separate. Now you see the boys and men in the Fez Medina as a matter of course weaving the thread to different thicknesses. One chap will hook the threads onto an anchor some ten meters away or have someone hold the end, and then swirl the threads to one for the desired thickness. You cannot imagine the array of colors in the shops where you buy thread in the Tailor’s souks. I tell you I had no idea so many shades of red, purple, green, and all the rest existed. They are stacked up against the walls on either side of the man or boy manning the hannut and up the back wall as well, to heights as much as a full story. It’s amazing. You feel a bit like Alice down that rabbit hole.
But these two youngsters in Rabat were holding the threads taunt for two older gents who were sewing curtains. Their needles flashed almost in unison in the afternoon sun that was creeping under the eves of the hannut as the boys sought to position themselves in the shade. The rhythm was so certain, sure, and constant I could almost hear a drumbeat and something by Vivaldi I think.
I stopped to buy some dates and the youngster tried to sell me body soap. You have to love the enterprise. Q and I have decided as tasty as the King’s dates are, and they are indeed succulent, the middle-line dates at 36 dirhams/kg are sweeter. It is two quite different tastes, and we shall save the King’s dates for an occasion.
Continuing on my way back to the Oudayas I passed a procession that I ascertained to be a funeral. There was a small white van with green writing in Arabic on the side. The back doors were open, a few chaps sitting inside with the body and a small cadre of gentlemen walking slowly in the oppressive heat behind the van, followed by a parade of cars. Now all I saw was men, but there may have been some women in the cars? The automobiles coming in the opposite lane not only stopped (and the lack of honking in Rabat was astonishing) but many of the men got out and stood while the van passed. Also in the traffic there was a military truck and the two soldiers got out, stood, and saluted while the van passed and turned in front of me to proceed to the large cemetery on the hill. I have no idea if there was something special about this person or if this is standard procedure but it was quite lovely. Any of my Moroccan readers care to comment?
Here’s an historical class distinction for you – mint tea is made very sweet, I mean very sweet. However a recent development in Rabat and Casablanca at the more expensive cafes is the serving of the tea with only one sugar. It is meant to be quite posh and show that the drinker is aware of the diet issues of health and weight. It does not taste as good. I will forgo the class elevation and take my mint tea with lots of sugar thank you.
Q and I were having breakfast at La Comedie, which is great for the café au lait, but only mediocre for food and service, but they serve eggs and we were in the mood for breakfast food. Q had an incident there earlier where the waitress overcharged her but became so distressed at the suggestion she change the price that Q just let it go. Apparently the café has a computer, this is unusual and we surmise it is a bit like one of those odd gods on some remote island – a rock or Nike shoe - that becomes sacred because of its singular uniqueness. We envisioned the waitresses leaving flowers at the computer in the morning and never, never offending the computer. So when she panicked when we wanted breakfast in addition to café au lait, Q carefully explained she could simply make another ticket. And lo all was well in the land…
The weather this week promises to go to 35 C today and up to 37 C in days to come. I am running to PAUL’s, my office in Agdal, today to write and hide.
I am convinced the world is not as old in some places as others; the veil between what was and what is hangs more thin here; history is something you can see and touch rather than read of in dry text. It is a walk through time on some days and really quite lovely.