There have been so many times this week where I’ve taken a mental snap-shot and filed them under the ‘wish you were here’ compartment in my brain. My favorite way to travel is solo — but there is something so… dare I say… romantic (not in my vocab) about this place that it’s a shame not to share. So, this is a shout-out for all of my favorite ramblers and favorite weird-food eating companions back home in the ole US of A.
|A doorway in the medina|
I don’t know if I’m sun-drunk, but I haven’t been this jazzed up to just be somewhere in a long while. I love Amsterdam, absolutely. But, the city does lack a certain joie de vivre sometimes. I was telling Kelly that it feels like I’m walking through the pages of National Geographic — the colors everywhere are so vibrant, the sun and shadows seem to fall just perfectly and there are so many people here with money-shot mugs. The city is rich in photo fodder. Being here reinforces how much I want (NEED!) the Fulbright so I can keep moving. I should be hearing anyyy dayyyyy nowwwww… until then, I’ll be biting my nails and sprouting grey hairs.
Our days have been jam-packed with lectures and stuffing ourselves silly with the local cuisine. We came at a really interesting time — with all of the social/political upheaval going on, Morocco has gone down the ‘evolution,’ not the ‘revolution’ route. Example: the two days ago the king surprised everyone by a) calling for a press conference out of the blue and b) announcing that he will be handing power over to the Parliament. People had be protesting (something not uncommon) for such change, but for him to actually up an do that without some sort of cataclysmic catalyst makes one kind of cock their head and go ‘huh…that was easy.’ Relatively speaking in comparison to other parts of Africa and the Middle East, of course.
I was trying to sum up my week in a wee nutshell because I’ve been lagging a bit behind here. So, a few happenings of note that left me either inspired, supa fresh or in a food coma:
Visit to Tidis
|A woman selling her wares — live chickens — in Tidis|
|Market day in Tidis|
It was a great visit, overall.
Before we came we were told YOU MUST GOT TO THE HAMAM. The public bathhouse is just that: no spa, just a place for people to go for a casual shampoo and naked socializing with guaranteed relaxation. Why not? We went to the market and grabbed the black sludgy soap and scrubbing mitts (i.e. BRILLO PADS) and buckets to wash with. There were a male and a female hamam (always separate, of course) located right around the corner from our center. As we walked into the place —three connecting open rooms of varying degrees of hot and cold — the ladies who worked there POUNCED on us. Before we knew it we were down to our skivvies in a big room of similarly naked bathers, getting buckets of water dumped on us and being violently scrubbed with said brillo pad. Flipping us around, bending us — someone described it as “being in a wrestling match that you knew you were losing.” Never the less, I am as smoooooth as a newborn baby. And, for being as au naturale as we were, it wasn’t an ounce awkward. Mostly because you didn’t have the time of where-with-all to be awkward while worrying if your nipples were going to be chaffed off. Check that one off my life bucket list.
|Maggie and Kathleen in the souk|