Mom’s week in Morocco went so quickly! I can’t believe she’s already back in Vancouver, and that I only have one month left in the magical Kingdom of Morocco.
Mom arrived last Monday and I met her at the airport after my Arabic class, with the help of my new taxi driver friend who gave us a great deal. Taxis are really cheap in Morocco, but local taxis or “petit taxis” can’t leave their own city, and since the airport is technically in Sale, not Rabat, I had to take a white taxi or ‘grand taxi’ which costs ten times more to go the same distance. But since I was going there and back, he offered to wait and drive us both ways for a lower price.
Once we got all settled in, I took Mom out around my neighbourhood,l’Océan. I always run along the water, so we wandered down my regular route towards the beach. For some reason the waves were massive that day, and the little pier I usually run down was completely closed off. It was pretty incredible watching the waves, though; when the water crashed down it looked like bags of flour being dropped. Somehow it was strong and intense, and at the same time delicate and soft.
From the beach, we wandered up through the Oudaya, which is the oldest part of the city. It’s a Casbah, meaning it’s fortified, and every building inside is painted blue and white. We also went through the medina and got some little samosas from a lady that sells them near my entrance.
Tuesday morning we went to visit our host family from last time we were in Morocco. Abdelmajid, the grandpa, is one of the most generous and welcoming people I’ve ever met, and he was so excited to have us back! He gave me a hard time for not visiting the house more often, and said that Mom has to come back every year now to visit. They made us tea, and Abdelmajid told us that we now have a Moroccan family. We gave him a Canucks hat because he’s always wearing a cap of some sort, and he put it on right away. It looked great, and it’s exciting to spread Canucks spirit to Morocco!
Wednesday we went for lunch with Fairouz and Karima from Thaqafat (the organization we volunteered with last summer), as well as their current intern. We went to Dar Naji, a great little restaurant in my neighbourhood that serves the best tajines and couscous in town! It was so fun to catch up with them and hear what they’ve been doing. Fairouz is such an incredible woman, and completely defies the sort of limiting stereotypes you think of in terms of women in Morocco. It was really great to catch up!
We also did some shopping in the old Medina on Wednesday, which is always fun! We went down Rue des Consuls which is the artisans road, where they sell leather goods, wooden boxes, berber jewelry, and all the most exciting things you can bring back from Morocco. The best part is the bardering, which I’ve gotten pretty good at! There’s a few techniques that you can use, but I always have the most success when I choose a price and stick to it. The general idea is to halve the price they give you, but as long as you feel comfortable with what you’re paying, it doesn’t really matter!
Thursday I had class from 10-6:15, so I had to leave Mom alone for most of the day! It also happened to be the coldest, wettest, stormiest day we’ve yet so far in Morocco. Mom braved the rain, though; while I stayed dry at school she went for a run and explored the Medina. It was frustrating to have to leave for so long, but I also know it’s pretty special to wander around the Medina by yourself. People in Canada always talk about places like Morocco as being dangerous, especially for women, so it’s almost empowering to wander around alone.
After class, Mackenzie and I stopped at the fish market to try and buy moules for dinner. They didn’t have any, so instead we had a bit of an adventure buying shrimp from a local fisherman who was just about to pack up for the day. After some lengthy negotiations, we walked away with a kilo of shrimp.
Dinner prep took longer than usual since we had to figure out how to devein the shrimp. After watching a few youtube videos, Mom and I were ready for the task. The shrimp were so small; it was almost impossible to properly devein all of them. Somehow, we managed to get through the massive bag of shrimp, and Mackenzie made the most amazing shrimp and tomato tajine.
This past weekend we had an amazing time in Fes, which I’ll write about in my next post!