“On fair le tour”

It seems like every day is divided into two. In the morning we get up and go teach, or whatever we’re doing that day, we do a bit on our own, and then we come back to sleep for a bit before dinner. That’s the first part. The second part starts with dinner and then once he gets back from the Mosque, Abdulmajid takes us out on a little adventure. Tonight he came back and said, “Salam! On fait le tour?” So I grabbed my camera and Mom grabbed her bag and we headed out.

This time we stayed in the Medina, and went a different way than usual, towards the souqs, or the markets, in the Medina. Already there were a lot of stands and shops open, with men calling out to us in Arabic, and sometimes in English and French. Some of the shops and stands were closed, and we learned that it was because people were still at the Mosque for their evening prayer. Later, he said, it will be next to impossible to walk through the little street, even though it’s considerably wider than the other alleys in the Medina.

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We made our way down to this sort of boardwalk by the river, where there
was an amazing view of both Sale, the sister city, and the Kasbah, the oldest part of the city that sort of sticks out into the water a little bit. We’re going to see it during the day tomorrow after work, but it was pretty incredible seeing it all lit up at night. The boardwalk was full of people, and felt almost like a festival. There were kids playing games and boys on roller skates, men sitting in these little drum circles drumming away, cotton candy stands and other little food stands where people were eager to eat after a long day of fasting, and so many people! And it kept filling up with more and more! Being down by the water, you could look up at watch all the people rush down to the water after getting out of the Mosque. I guess it’s a pretty popular spot.

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Abdulmajid took us back up the hill towards Hassan tower, one of the most famous landmarks of Rabat. It’s all lit up at night, and you can see it from pretty far away. Tonight we admired it from afar, but we’re going to go see it in the day later this trip. He walked us through the neighborhood, pointing out the city’s only Synagogue and down the street towards a Catholic church. We ended up sitting down for tea and a little cafe again, and once again we were the only women in sight. Abdulmajid tool this opportunity to go over some more Arabic with us! We learned to count up to 20, and he did a very thorough job. In Mom’s notebook he wrote the name for each letter in Arabic, and then I wrote down the phonetic spelling with our alphabet next to it, so that we can refer back to it. He also made us pour our own tea, which was absolutely terrifying, but really fun! Mom’s a lot better at it than I am!

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I know I keep repeating things about the Medina, but there’s really no way to describe walking through the Medina at midnight back to our house. There’s food cooking and smoke in the air and bubbles floating everywhere from these little bubble guns and people shouting and people begging and people everywhere. There’s the men selling fresh squeezed orange juice out of old water bottles that have hopefully, but doubtfully, been cleaned. There’s women sitting on the ground selling loofahs and soap, because apparently a loofah is something you buy on the side of the road here in Morocco. There’s cats and kittens running around and meowing so loud that it can be heard through all the other noise, treated sort of like how we treat squirrels back home. It’s so crazy to walk through it every day, and now we know our way around so it’s even better.

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