The last few days have been a series of odd contrasts. Two days ago, Krista and I went to the Dar Shabab around 10 am to check out an all-day camp there for little kids from a local public school. An environmental guy showed up to do some classes, a doctor, and a dentist, and my host brother led songs in another classroom. There were arts and sports and so forth- all somewhat loosely-run, the idea being that the kids could, to some extent, choose what they like to do, and experiment with that whole construction-of-self thing that kids do.
At noon we met up with the only other blonde in the city, a French woman who’s running the reusing-plastic-bags NGO. She took us out to the countryside for a leisurely lunch with a whole bunch of French expats. The lunch included wild boar, wine, whiskey, beer, liquor, cheeses, and so on, not particularly Hallal. I spotted some peacocks wandering around the farm.
After lunch we headed back to the Dar Shabab for the last hour or two of activities before taking the bus out to my host family’s house. After hanging around doing nothing for a few hours, we went to a wedding in the neighborhood. The bride and groom showed up around 1 am, and we managed to duck out at 4. The whole thing ended around 6 in the morning. And that’s “old time”, so really 7 am.
My first Moroccan wedding was quite the experience. I believe I was granted special privileges as a white person, and allowed to stick close to my host mother, sisters, and Krista. My host brother Kamal cleverly stayed up all the previous night so claimed he was “sick” and avoided the entire affair. Mostly Moroccans wiggle their shoulders and stomp their feet for dancing. This is done almost exclusively in single-sex groups, usually in a circle. The music is very, very loud, and very, very repetitive, and the guests alternate between sitting down and watching other people dance, and getting up and dancing themselves. Women dress up for the event, but men mostly just wear tshirts, jeans, and sneakers. And this goes on pretty much all night. The bride and groom show up, then leave, change clothes, come back, the leave, change clothes, come back, then leave, change clothes, maybe 5-7 times throughout the night. Anyway, afterwards I was a little tired.
The following day, after sleeping off and on until 3 pm, our landlord took us over to Saidia, the beach-side community. I thought we were just going to the supermarket to pick up some things like butter and cheese, which we can’t get in town, but we didn’t come back until 9 pm. But we did get his life-story, which he told us over some sheesha, sitting in a swanky café near the beach. This is almost immediately after he informed us that sheesha is illegal in public, but fine in your own home.
Apparently he was a butcher, drug-dealer, and international smuggler before being imprisoned briefly and deported from France where he had married a “French Jewish woman”. (Later he told us that, in his opinion, Hitler had some good ideas, although he executed them poorly. He’s also a fan of Che Guevara, Mao Zedong, and, get this, Nelson Mandela because they all have similar ideas). Now he owns five different buildings, even though he has no education past the age of 12. He did, however, get his “diploma from the streets”. Driving back to town, he played Wiz Khalifa’s Black and Yellow maybe 8-10 times.
Anyway, it was all a bit strange. In recovery-mode today- the king, I guess, decided not to come yet. Today I enjoyed a fire-ball in the face from our semi-new gas oven. Managed to burn some hair, fry my “mustache”, and singe my nose-hairs severely. Mom and any other relatives, who may read this, please don’t feel the need to email me about the lack of safety involved with a gas grill- I think I understand.
|excited about art|
|the majority of the day was spent taking photos to document the activity|
|environment man arrives|
|with krista and host mother|
|breaking it down|
|americans showing the moroccans how we dance. The song was "what is love"|
|watching our moves|
|guy dancing like he was about to have a seizure|
|ecstatic groom, 17 year old bride|
|bride and groom dance while others stick 100 dirham bills in their clothes|
|this is how we do it|
|Dar shabab activity|