I continue to be amazed at how supportive the cyber community is; we need to be reminded I guess that it is flesh and blood people writing these posts. When you get out in the world and meet members of your cyber circle, like sally, Geoff, and jmb, you become certain it is a brilliant medium. This is my roundabout way of saying “thank you!” to everyone who was so kind to leave a message during my recent indisposition. I apologize to all my lovely readers for the lack of material these past few days and I shall endeavor to make it up to you by being extra witty and entertaining.
I must admit I have no adventures to report as I have been confined to my bed – alone. Not a lot of material there. We have had rain here; a good solid rain, enough to come through my sometimes-leaky glass ceiling. Fortunately it kindly always leaks in the same place so I am at the ready with a towel on the floor. I am going out later to retrieve my laundry from the Press and to see the city, as I am sure it has exploded in green. after the rain; always a glorious site.
I began reading a new novel yesterday when I started to feel better and I am going though it like a knife through warm butter. It is Ken Follett’s “ World Without End”. That man can spin a tale so well. It is a sequel of sorts to “Pillars of the Earth” which was brilliant, about the building of a Cathedral in England. If you are an architecture or history buff, or just like a good story, I highly recommend both. You don’t need to have read the first at all to read the present offering which takes place some hundreds of years later and follows the lives of several children who witnessed a murder in the forest. Yes…. I am reading it and as I find myself hundreds of pages past where I was going to stop I ask, “How does he do that?”
Here are some observations from Fez this time last year:
4 December 2006, Fez Morocco, 1144 hours local time
I have in amazement noted the presence of many liquor shops, and a large liquor section at Marjane’s, with a back door… for the French, the tourists, the Muslims gone astray?
There are a section of women with hair the color of shoe polish; an odd purple color that comes from henna applied to jet-black hair I believe.
I have made note of a great many people – men, women, and the occasional child – with eye patches. It appears to be medical, not from an injury, and I wonder if it is some endemic disease, or something environmental?
None of the government offices in Fez, and I had cause to visit them all in pursuit of a residency card, have a single computer. They all work on paper and the files are kept in flimsy tin cabinets.
The cab driver I had recently on my trip to Marjane’s: “You must learn Arabic to read the Koran, to enter the mosque, the Koran takes all (after the explanation I am Buddhist) people under Islam. “You are a writer woman. This is good.” It was the kindest of proselytizing.
The distance between rich and poor is vast, but they don’t clash up against each other on a daily basis; the culture is “inward” like the houses. Even more than in other places of the world, you can’t go on outside appearances.
Overheard in conversation at lunch with Q and some of the girls: We were discussing the differences between the Catholic and Buddhist views on sex before marriage.
P: “My parents have accepted that I sinned and we moved on, we just don’t talk about it?”
Q: “I think it is great that you learned to speak Italian just to sin.”
There is no “Health and Safety commission”, no OSCHA: at the construction site you see the workers hauling the bricks up with rope on precarious wooden platforms, chaps on the ledge smoothing the cement with trowels and no safety ropes or helmets; and the welder with no gloves, glasses, helmet, or coveralls.
Moroccan men cannot parallel park, but they can dance.
I have been here long enough now to tell the difference between couture and off the rack djellabas.
The scariest rooms I know are – empty. The bureaucrat from the Residency cards took us upstairs to “the boss”. I long for the simplicity of the bajeesh of India where you simply hand over the bribe and you’re done) the bottom floor is like any bureaucracy, but notably bare of decoration, personal or otherwise. The second floor sent me reeling back thirty years to a similar set of bare rooms with long dark hallways set with closed doors with numbers set above. Shiver.
Morocco is lousy with birds and full of bird song. The birds come in all sizes from the tiny brown and grey songsters that perch in our window’s iron grating to the huge black majestic that fly the thermals.
Ciao lovely readers.