Morocco, Week Eleven

Another slow week, which means a short blog post this time.1 After a long work day on Monday, I took a spontaneous trip to the school swimming pool with a couple kids in tow.2 We practiced swimming, splashed, and even had a spirited game of marco polo, then headed to Wafae’s house for soup and Moroccan pastries.3

On Tuesday evening, I accompanied a couple of friends to an informal basketball game with their buddies, where–for lack of proper footwear–I sat and snickered at their warmup hijinks. Ten minutes of utter chaos, with the ball being thrown in every direction but the correct one, funny jumping and spinning, and goofy grins on every single face. One of my friends even did a spontaneous headstand on the court. I expected the actual game to continue in this fashion, but once they worked out all that silliness, they weren’t half bad at basketball.4 The wind picked up later in the evening, and when it grew too cold to play, we did the most logical thing we could think of. We went for ice cream. I had every single flavor all in one cup, with no regrets. We sat on rocks overlooking the Atlantic ocean, the lights of Spain, and the stars. I nibbled on an ice cream cone5 and thought about how lucky I am to live somewhere so beautiful.

The rest of my week was occupied by–in no particular order–book cataloging, reading, sleeping, eating, and playing with Loki.6 Friday I spent more time with Wafae’s lovely children. We made harira and discussed aging. I was in the library all morning Saturday to supervise installation of our brand new, first ever air conditioning unit!7 This is actually much more exciting than it sounds, because the library is sweltering in hot weather. Instead of being a wonderful workspace for the school community, it becomes our own personal sauna. Only the people who are paid to be there–myself and the assistant librarian–brave the heat on those days. Though a small change in the grand scheme of things, this will make a huge difference for our students and faculty.

Sunday morning I went to the big farmer’s market8 downtown and bought the following: four tomatoes, three large green peppers, four onions, six carrots, one large bunch of bananas, one kilo of apples, three large bunches of garlic, one head of lettuce, one kilo of assorted nuts, three kilos of dried fruit, and two medium-sized clay pots, all for 198 dirhams, which is roughly $24.9

After my shopping victory, I was spirited away to the beach by my friends, where we grilled chicken over a fire and I climbed lots of rocks. I watched the sun set over the ocean, and even though I watch the sun set over the ocean at least once a week, each time is different. Each location, each color, each white and orange-tinged wave. I wish there were a way to file away sunsets like a stamp collection, capturing the exact colors, the direction of the breeze, the smells, the glinting pinpoints of light that stretch out to the horizon. But I suppose sunsets have to be fleeting. Otherwise, why would you look for the next one?

  1. Slow in the sense that I didn’t do much for fun, but worked all the time instead. []
  2. Yasmine and Naoufel, my co-worker Wafae’s children. They’re my two favorite new friends. []
  3. I have been specifying the type of pastry every time because I am aware that you, my readers, are extremely discerning and absolutely need to know whether each pastry is Moroccan-style or French-style. []
  4. Not that I’m a great judge. []
  5. If you’ve ever seen me eat ice cream, you know that it meets a very speedy demise. []
  6. His new favorite toy is my drying rack. He thinks it exists purely for his entertainment, and when I attempt to restore its original function, he leaps up and pulls my items of clothing down, one at a time. []
  7. Thanks to a generous donation from a dear friend of mine. []
  8. It sounds strange to me to say “farmer’s market” here, because nearly every market here would meet the western world’s definition of a farmer’s market. []
  9. I am operating under the assumption that everyone, like me, wants to know exactly how much food costs here and what kinds of things I buy day-to-day. I love coming home with fresh vegetables, tallying them as I put them away, and then doing a series of currency conversions to determine exactly how glad I am to be in a country where food is unbelievably cheap. FYI, without the dried fruit/nuts and clay pots, my total was 39.50 dirhams, less than $5. That’s for two weeks’ worth of tomatoes, peppers, onions, carrots, bananas, apples, garlic, and lettuce. []

4 Responses

  • Why don’t you photograph 75 (or so) different sunsets and post them on the library walls to illustrate the variations in this fleeting phenomenon?

  • Rosa-
    That’s an idea. Though at this rate a series of street cat photographs is looking more likely.

    No idea! Nathaniel has Hebrew origins and means “gift of God”. I couldn’t find any information on the etymology of Naoufel, but I’ll ask around.

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