Soon it will be back to school here. I can see it everywhere. The bookstore next to my office at the Majestic in the New City is packed with parents and children, lists for necessary books and supplies clutched in the hands of the parents. The children admiring the new backpacks, pencils, and art kits are everywhere. At Marjane I saw them packing the aisles set aside at one side of the store, filled with school supplies. I witnessed the exchange between a father and daughter where she was trying to convince him she really needed that art kit. He showed her the list on which I gathered there is no art kit, but I hung about long enough to see him give in. I’m still smiling. At Dessange the children on their way to the posh schools are getting their back to school haircuts. I have a moment of nostalgia for all those days with Q gathering books and supplies for another year.
For the past month or more the street-fruit de jour is prickly pear cactus. I don’t want to attempt to eat anything that looks like it might make some objections, but Q adventurous in the culinary venue as always gave it a go. Not to her taste she said, sweet but too bland and with lots of seeds. I’m taking her word for it and holding out for the dates and the return of the Moroccan oranges.
Passing through the Rabat Medina after dark is an experience of raucous noise and crowds to rival 5th avenue after five. The wonderful smells that you inhale during the day through lunchtime from the hannuts is gone, people are at home eating or in the restaurants. Down the middle of the streets are spread blankets covered with goods from belts to shoes to scarves to knickers to socks, kitchen goods, and any other mundane item you can think of with a hawker for each spot calling out his better prices and choices. The blaring exotic music coming from the stalls and hannuts selling CDs drown out conversation that is made more difficult by the fact it is almost impossible to walk side by side in the press of the crowd. The people move in currents, and to progress forward you have to follow in the wake of the group headed your way. The jewelry stores are lit from within highlighting the golden showcase in the windows – the huge golden wedding belts, the multi-stoned necklaces and garish rings. The rug shops, and souvenir shops are doing all they can to lure the strolling tourists inside. The nights now are thick with the moisture from the sea suspended in the still warm air from the day.
On Mohammad V Boulevard there are crowds after dark strolling the avenue and the length of green grass with benches and flowers that runs along the middle. Entire families walk along enjoying the coolness of the evening and the store fronts, young and old couples walk side by side – the more daring hand in hand, and everywhere the children run about chasing each other and exploring any new sight. During the week there are outdoor concerts with live music in the middle of the boulevard.
It is election season now. The different contingents walk through the streets carrying posters, books, and signs singing, banging drums, and bells – with the women at the back, but they are there.
And at 2200 hours on last Friday night, a lightening show and RAIN! Honest to gods rain, wet stuff coming out of the sky. It’s the first time in M.C.’s lifetime it has rained. He did come out on the terrace to watch me fold up the table and get it under the plastic. Granted it only rained for five minutes, but it rained! What I wouldn’t give for a deathly thunderstorm or some of the horizontal rain from Skye.