Thursday, July 17, 2008

Morocco: Day Six: To the Coast


Asmaa woke TR and I up around 8:30, and JR had just recently arrived. We haven't heard from Zoe, by the way, so the assumption is that she's having a good time with Rania and her cousins, the pool, and the sea.

Tristan, Jennifer, Fatima F. and I had the same food for breakfast that we had mid-evening yesterday. It was just as good. We went downstairs and got a Casablanca petit taxi, which are red in Casablanca, to the Souk District, for lack of knowing what it's called. Fatima F., who rode in a different petit taxi (since they only hold three passengers, remember?) stopped on the way to pick up her late father's "other" wife, i.e. the wife that is not her late mother. Sister wives, Big Love-style.

The souks were a little different, with hardly a tourist to be found. I'm not even sure of the last time we saw other Americans.

Here we were doing some of our souvenir shopping. Tristan found a really cool hand-made wooden soccer ball, Jennifer got a proper tea pot, family sized, and a brass door knocker for our faux Moroccan door at home. Our local "guides" did all our haggling for us, and we got good deals on everything. We found a juice cart for Tristan, who was being very patient during the shopping.

We took another petit taxi back to the condo, and hung out some more. We ate lunch of the usual stuff, and also some chicken tagine.

Around 3:00 we left for the train station, catching a petit taxi near the apartment for the 20 dirham ride to Gare Casa Voyageur. We had a little time to kill before our 4:30 train to El Jadida. We rode in 2nd class this time since first class last time didn't seem to buy us any additional comfort. This train took about 90 minutes, including a 15 minute unscheduled stop that would've been OK if the windows opened farther.

We arrived at El Jadida around 6, and greeting us at the station were Hicham (our friend from Chapel Hill, and Rania's dad), and Ghita (12, the daughter of Jalila and Shakir, all of whom have previously been to our house in NC). It was a short drive to Shakir and Jalila (and Ghita and Abla's (15) ) house to drop off our stuff. Zoe was there with Rania and the two servants (whom Shakir very clearly pointed out were not slaves), and Zoe seemed completely un-phased by our arrival. She just wanted to continue to play with her friends. Tristan just wanted to swim in the pool in the backyard. Hicham, JR, TR and I got back in the car and made the short drive to Hicham's parents' house, a block from the beach. Hicham's parents ______ and _____ have been to our house a couple of times. Their house was very nice, and busy with wedding preparations, visitors, and servants, who probably also were not slaves, cleaning everything.

We sat and hung out with Fatima C., the bride to be, then walked up to the beach and the "boardwalk," which was actually made of tile. It was a pretty typical beach with shops, restaurants, palm trees, soccer players and camel rides.

There were a couple of just magnificent abandoned hotels that dated back to probably the 1920's - 1930's and were built in an awesome art deco style, but had been abandoned for 10 years or so. The one had a huge lot surrounded by a high masonry wall from the boardwalk to the street, and Mother Nature had reclaimed the grounds, turning the place into a bird sanctuary. It was very cool.

We drove from there to a pizza place to pick up dinner for the people back at Shakir and Jalila's. We (and the pizza) were dropped off, and shortly afterward Ghita, Rania, and Zoe went to Ghita's aunt's house to spend the night. Tristan was feeling a little bit left out, as he's the only boy around, and hasn't gotten to do as much stuff as Zoe. He did finally get to swim though.

Shakir arrived pretty late, and the servants, who are not slaves, brought him dinner: brochette with cheese and sauce, while we hang out in the living room watching Discovery Channel in German, and drinking Heineken beer. Tristan crashed on a couch in a room adjacent to the living room, and JR and I got Abla's bed. I think Abla and the servants, who are not slaves, slept in the living room. It'll probably get weirder once more people arrive Friday. I'm not sure what the plan is yet, if there is one.


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