Back to work today! It felt very much like getting back into routine.
We caught the tram at 9:30 and rode to Sale as usual, and got to Amal Sale to wait for the students and the other teachers. Slowly the others showed up, and we divided up into the different classes. I got my favourite class again, the 10-15 year olds. Last week when I started with them, they were so awful, but I’m starting to figure out how to deal with them and it’s a lot of fun. Today I did verb tenses with them, because I realized that they always speak in present tense no matter when they’re talking about. They really struggled with past tense, but by the end they started to get the hang of it! English is so complicated! Seriously, whose idea was it to have “read” be used in present and past tense, to be spelled the same way, but to be said differently? Who thought that was a good idea?? Some of the super cocky kids were thrown a bit off guard, I think, because normally they know everything that the teachers do and they like to show off, but this time they didn’t always know all the answers. By the end of the lesson, the little boy who always complains, “teacher, too simple!” was begging to play a game. If I get them again tomorrow I’ll review with them, and hopefully they’ll remember some of it!
After school we decided to go to the Chellah, which is the oldest site in Rabat that was the original city before the Medina. Some ruins date back to 200BC from the Carthaginian Empire, and then some of the ruins were Roman, and then a few were more recent. We got off the tram and walked up this enormous hill up towards the ruins – it was a much farther walk than we expected. We went with a girl named Asnia who is from the US but is fasting because she is Muslim. Since we were walking with her, it would have been rude to drink in front of her, so we had a little taste of what Ramadan feels like! It is TOUGH! Trekking up this giant hill in the hot Moroccan sun, my mouth was dry and I was needing water badly. Finally we got to the Chellah, which from the outside looks like a beautiful Fort. We paid 10MAD to get in, and were happy that we did!
We seemed to step into this beautiful lush oasis. Surrounded by enormous stone walls was what felt like a forest, with green things growing everywhere, with splashes of colour here and there from flowers. We wandered down and found the ruins, which were stunning. My favorite was this old Minaret that sort of stood in the middle. Lots of the tile had come off, but you could still see remnants of beautiful blue patterned tiles. At the top of the Minaret was this enormous bird nest that was somehow balancing, despite it’s size far surpassing that of the Minaret. It belonged to the strangest looking bird, a kind of Stork, that was making this crazy tapping noise by tapping its beak open and closed really fast. Wandering around the ruins, we soon realized that these birds were everywhere, with giant nests perched wherever there was space (and sometimes where there wasn’t space at all). We stopped to rest a few times in the shade of some of the ruins, definitely feeling the tole of dehydration, and eventually wandered back up to catch a taxi back to the Medina. The taxi ride cost a little over $1, so it was well worth the “splurge”.
Dinner was so amazing tonight! A lot of the family was eating elsewhere, so there were just six of us tonight, which compared to home is a lot, but compared to our 16 on the first night is very few. We had a Tajine again for the first time in four nights, which is always my favorite because of the different spices and all the flavor. This time there was liver mixed in, which isn’t my favorite but was still good. We also had sheep brain. That was weird. It was definitely the crowd favorite, and I know it’s supposed to be really good for you, so I tried a little bit. It was pretty good, with a super weird texture, but the sauce it was cooked in was incredible. We also had Moroccan chick pea soup which is definitely one of my favorite things ever.
After dinner, Abdulmajid took us out for a walk which turned into one of our best nights yet! We wandered around and saw the King’s Palace, which is stunning and enormous, and then slowly made our way back down Mohammed V Street, the famously wide boulevard in Nouvelle Ville, Rabat, containing all the important buildings like Parliament, the Post Office, the Train station, the national bank, and all that fun stuff.
We also wandered by the Maroc Telecom building where there was loud music and what looked like a bit of a party. Abdulmajid wanted to check it out, so we wandered over. At the door we were offered tea, and there seemed to be some sort of event taking place. I have no idea what it was for, but it didn’t seem to matter. Abdulmajid saw that there was a woman doing henna, and asked for us to get it done. It was supposed to just be for kids, but he somehow managed to sweet talk our way in, and suddenly I was sitting down and a woman was painting henna on my hand! Mom absolutely LOVED it, and could not stop smiling and looking at her’s. It was so much fun! They also took our picture, and gave us a printed copy which is a nice little souvenir.
After that we went to Arab Cafe for some tea and wifi, while Abdulmajid met with his brother across the street. When we were done, we went out and met them. His brother is a Canadian citizen, and is visiting from Montreal, where he has lived for 20 years! It was really cool to talk to him!
It’s late here so I’m definitely ready to sleep!