Thursday, 19 July 2007
jmb pointed out to me the link for the “Queen of Morocco” did not work on the post yesterday, so I am posting some photographs of our lovely Princess for you. I apologize for listing her title incorrectly. The story of the royal family here is quite fascinating really and I am a fan of the young king, but as Q says I am a monarchist at heart.
This is the Princess at one of her charities, meeting the Queen Rania of Jordon, the King and the new Princess who was born while we were in Fez, and a portrait of the Princess. I am going to do a write up about them for you tomorrow but for now I must get off to the Press, the gym, and the spa. In there somewhere I have to write!
I’ll be back later with more post for today. Ciao.
When the sun goes over the yardarm in Rabat, the Medina fills. We have been having SUCH hot weather since the first week in July to make a camel sweat, and it continues.. If Fez is any barometer it will stay hot until October. The Moroccans in addition to being a bit more relaxed about the clothing stay inside if possible until around six in the evening for the most part and then BOOM (but in a good way). The Medina was so full last night we had to find the currents of people that were moving forward and get in someone’s wake to move to our destination. Mercy I love being tall!
In the land of delicious dates (dates are a Holy food, and I am right on board with that) the most delicious are said to be the “King’s dates”. It is interestingly enough a story much like the vines in the Napa Valley. Some years back there was a vine rot in California that ran through all the vineyards, they imported the French vines to replace; there was a drought in Morocco and they imported the date palm trees to California for replanting to be imported back to Morocco to replenish the groves. The “King’s dates” are the Medjool dates cream of the crop and we have been in pursuit of them since last year during Ramadan. Yesterday we found a hannut in the Medina that sells the “King’s dates” at 200 dirhams/kg! We ask for a sample to see if they are really worth that price and the seller, unsure of our motives gave us one to share. After seeing the look of rapture on my face and the fact we both immediately began to dig in our pockets for money he offered another. We gave him 80 dirhams for however many that would buy us. He then gave us walnuts, almonds, and more dates to sample. There was a Moroccan couple standing next to us. The woman was doing the shopping and the man was laughing (in the nicest way) at my obvious enjoyment of the free samples. “Free food, it’s my favorite, “ I said.
“Free food is everyone’s favorite,” he replied enjoying his own sample from the date seller. I offered him one of our “king’s dates” because in Morocco more so than anywhere else it is good manners, but he declined with a smile.
Early yesterday to escape the heat and get some work done on the story I ran away to PAUL’s. It has become hot enough for the Moroccans that the a/c is on!!! Praise Allah! It was absolutely chilly in the restaurant. I set myself up at the small table in the corner (great view of all the comings and goings), as there is a plug there. PAUL’s now has wireless as well. The lovely waiters one by one, trooped over during my three hour stay to ask, “Where is your daughter today? She is very beautiful.” See mother beaming. The really very pretty one came over during my last hour and was too clever and lovely, “Where is your FRIEND?”
“She is my daughter.” And he had the charm to look shocked! Don’t you love that?
“She is very beautiful. So are you of course,” he said. As good as the a/c that was no matter he meant it or no.
The taxi ride home was –adventurous. Now you must understand I am a woman who has ridden with the drivers of Northern India where they hang two of the wheels off the side of the bloody mountain while maneuvering around the crater that is in the center of the road and swerving past the boulder slide without rear view mirrors and seatbelts in cars that have been patched and held together with string and gum. So I am not easily frightened in a car. This was more a joy ride. His solution to the Rabat traffic jam was to pull out of it into the oncoming traffic and swerve around the buses in the narrow road that borders the Medina. When we pulled up to the entrance to the Oudayas in record time after barely missing getting creamed by a huge truck, I burst into laughter and he had a shit-eating grin not to be trifled with by man or beast. I’m sorry but I gave him a big fat tip, cheap entertainment at its best.
A called Q to tell her he and ‘Paris” are off to the coast of Ghana to see the rainforest and slave castles; and they are sharing a bungalow. She’s a “co-ed” who “can’t look after herself” and he was “forced” to take her by the leader of the research group who was afraid she would get herself sold into white slavery. You have to know how honorable A is and what a trusting relationship he and Q have built to know this was totally funny rather than worrisome.
Did you know there is Gourmet Nutella? Q is telling me there is a place where they make it without all the preservatives (its true attraction to climbers) and sell it in little gold packages for exorbitant prices. What a world.
Footnote: because that is all “The Ugly American” who appeared in the taxi line outside the Medina yesterday deserves. Q and I had been through the market after coming through the Medina and picking up some of the King’s Dates as I told you above, some drinking glasses, and eggplant. Into the market where we picked up three bags of vegetables, some olives and a bag for two cartons of the Greek yogurt, you can imagine we were weighted down.
We went to the Taxi Stand to wait in line for the chap who calls up the taxis and says who goes where. He signaled our taxi, after a bit of a wait, during which I was holding all the bags so Q could get the doors.
This chap, in his early thirties I would guess, runs up behind me as Q is sliding across the back seat and I am handing the bags into her. Thinking I would not understand him from his tone (which was nasty) he said, “Oh sure go ahead even though we were here first.”
“ I looked up at him and said, “Oh dear you know you need to wait over there,” pointing to the Taxi Stand. Thinking to lighten the mood I said, “Well if it makes you feel better I’m old.”
To which he replied in the afore mentioned nasty voice, “Yeah I can see that.”
I tell you I really did not meditate long enough yesterday morning because this sob missed getting cold cocked by the skin of his teeth. I had my arm pulled back and my fist made before I pulled myself back, closed the taxi door telling Q I would walk home. I turned and gave him my best dazzle dimpled smile and walked back into the Medina. Jerk! And I am here to tell you I had on my “cute” jeans, my La Vie en Rose shirt, and a little cap. That’s all the print he gets.