Day 10

I’d like to begin with a little correction from one of my earlier posts. When I said that we’re lucky to have running hot water, what I really meant is that we’re lucky to have running stone cold freezing water. I mean it’s better than a bucket, but I just thought I’d clarify.

Today was awesome, as usual. I got my same class again, and we went over superlatives in the morning and then contractions in the afternoon. They had never done either before, so they were all taking notes and asking lots of questions, which I love. They could not figure out why “bad” turns into “worse” and why “far” turns into “farther”, but I gave them a little assignment, and by the end of it almost all of them had it figured out! I’m so sad that tomorrow is my last day with them!

l3After school mom and I decided to go to the Oudaya, which is a little “village” off of the Medina that extends out into the water like a little peninsula. I don’t totally understand the history of it, but it dates back to the 12th Century, and is now where some of the richer families live who still want to be in the old town. And I know that it’s beautiful. People always tend to associate white and blue colouring on buildings with Greece, but I’ve seen way more of it in Morocco than I did in Greece. The entire Oudaya is is white with this intense blue colour. It’s really stunning. There’s also a beautiful garden where you can admire a view if the ocean, as well as the outside of an ancient palace. The whole area seems very quiet and clean, and is quite separated from the business in the Medina.

We wandered in, sort of unsure of where to go, and very distracted by the white and blue everywhere. A few men offered to show us around, but we were warned against taking their help. We wandered around on our own a bit, and got a tiny bit lost.

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All of the sudden this guy popped up out of nowhere and told us that the lookout was closed because of the Ramadan hours, but that he could show us the view from a different spot. Red flags were going off and I didn’t like him at all, but he led us up the street and through this door that said, “Access Interdit” (Access Forbidden). I was not having it at all, and didn’t want to go through the door, but Mom went through and when she saw the view and called me over, I followed in, making sure the door stayed open. Admittedly, the view was worth it. From the little edge you could see out over the beach and the ocean, and turning back you could see the crowded graveyard stretching down towards the water. He took me out onto this ledge to get a picture, and this time it was Mom who was worried seeing me on this sketchy ledge. All was fine, though, and we made it back through the door that claimed forbidden access.

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The guy kept showing us around, and although I didn’t like him and would rather have wandered around alone, it’s very hard to convince Moroccans of anything, especially to leave you alone. He did show us a few things that were really cool, but I had a little bit of trouble enjoying it because he made me so uncomfortable. When we got to the garden, I figured we could find our way from there and told him that we had to leave. From there we wandered just the two of us through the garden, which was beautiful, and back to the main road.

To get back to the house, we had to walk through the artisan souq, so for us, that meant shopping. Mom bought the most beautiful leather backpack with this really nice Moroccan design all over it, and I got a leather bag that will fit my laptop for school, and I’m totally in love with it.

We had to hurry back to drop our things at the house because we had a meeting with Liz, an intern at Thaqafat from Chicago who’s here for the summer and who has been in charge of the Thaqafat blog. She wanted to do one on the organization’s first mother-daughter team, so we had a little interview with her. It was really fun – she is super cool, and she asked some tough questions so it was good to reflect over the trip a little bit.

We had a bit of time after that, but Mom wasn’t feeling great so we decided to go back and sleep for an hour before dinner. When it came time to go over to the main house for dinner, Mom decided she didn’t really feel up to it, so I went over alone. It was funny because for some reason the women were all somewhere else tonight so it was just me, the grandma, and six big guys. They’re all so sweet, though, and it was really nice. We always watch this show during dinner that’s sort of like a candid camera type idea, and the family always howls with laughter while it’s on. Some of the episodes are quite elaborate, like tonight’s, where they brought a guy up in a helicopter, somehow knocked him out, and then woke him up to tell him that the place was going down and that they had to jump. Obviously the guy freaked out, and then eventually they told him it was a joke. Last night’s was much less sophisticated, involving a rubber snake. It’s always fun, though, because I can usually understand what’s happening even though it’s in Arabic.

When Abdulmajid found out that Mom wasn’t feeling great he immediately jumped into action. He prepared this special tea that he claims cures all ills, and brought it up to Mom. He was very adamant that she drink it all, and made her plug her nose and down the whole thing. She’s feeling a bit better now, but she also took some medicine earlier, so I guess we’ll never know if it was the medicine or the tea that did the trick!

We’re staying in tonight so that Mom can rest a bit more. Tomorrow we’re heading to Marrakech, so we’ve been packing and getting ready for our big desert trek! Can’t wait!

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