Recipe for one Hemem (“turkish bath”)

One part sauna
One part YMCA locker room
Two parts massage parlor
One part questionable herbal soap

Mix well; marinate for about an hour. Rinse thoroughly with cold water.

That may or may not be the extent to which I’m willing to go into it. Lets just say that another woman scrubbed me (all of me….) within an inch of my life and my body now contains 0% dead skin cells. Indeed I feel clean and my skin looks radiant. All this for 80dh (about ten bucks).


Similarities and Differences

Arabic is getting easier! Notice I said “easier,” not “easy.” Its still hard. Boo. I learned my numbers 1-10, now I just have to learn how to write them. (I can write my name though: سنئسئ) I am getting better at recognizing random letters in words, say, as we drive (but generally i’m focusing on what the cars around us are doing. More on driving at a later date–hopefully with a video to follow). The big news with Arabic is that tonight for homework I am writing sentences. Actual sentences! Hopefully I can wrap my brain around the grammar and agreements and stuff and write even MORE sentences in the future!

What else is there to report? I’m trying to keep this away from a daily “I did this and this and then this” because that’s really just fluff at this point.

Oh, here’s a deep thought… today in class we talked about “Orientalism” which you may be familiar with if you’ve taken an University humanities class in the past 10 years… anyway, its basically a really complicated way of saying that Westerners put “others” into stereotyped categories, showcasing how different the “others” are in quaint and antiquated ways… I hope that my blog doesn’t do this, and if I do, I’m sorry. Really, there are more similarities than there are differences here. Obviously I’m on the internet daily, and the apartment I’m staying in is spacious, and people here can speak two or three languages–they definitely have most Americans beat on that subject… Everyone has cell phones… Maybe this would have been different ten or even 5 years ago but Morocco isn’t as different as I expected it would be. I don’t really feel like I’m in Africa. Physically I am on the continent but the city and society I’m in doesn’t fall into the thought most Americans have of “Africa” as this mysterious, mystical place of civil wars, voodoo and naked children. There’s more to the country than that!!! That’s all the deep thoughts I’ve got for now I think.

gorgeous sunset I snapped from my bedroom window!
gorgeous sunset I snapped from my window!

Tomorrow: expect a little info about my experience at a  turkish bath!

Beach Day

My family sure knows how to do a beach day. They’ve got it down to a science… two umbrellas, one tent/wind shield thing, boogie boards, a cooler, chairs, towels, etc, all loaded up in the car in less than ten minutes… would have taken my CA family an hour to get it done… anyway needless to say I spent all day at the beach. We were there from 11:45 to about 9. Yeah, I said ALL DAY. Don’t worry, I put on sun screen.

It was different from San Diego beaches–more rocks, but there were tide pools and no intimidating signs to leave the wildlife alone, so putting aside my strict US indoctrination I took the liberty of  poking at the fish and catching a hermit crab. Other things that were different from US beaches… women wearing long sleeves and head scarves instead of tank tops and shorts or less. I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to brown my legs but I left my shirt on out of respect… I was only 50% outrageous I guess. I mean, not all the women were wearing long sleeves and such but I’d say about half or more were. I know its a choice in this country and all (we’re not in Saudi Arabia or anything), but all I kept thinking about how sweltering they must have been in the sun!

It was a clean and gorgeous isolated beach in Temara
It was a clean and gorgeous isolated beach in Temara

Secondly, I was going to post this last night after my trip to the medina but the internet was being terribly uncooperative. So yesterday I wore one of Angela’s gypsy skirts in order to take advantage of the delightful breeze since we were going to be walking… many many miles (I couldn’t even estimate how many. Suffice it to say we hoofed it all around Rabat). Anyway, even though I wore the skirt I wore tennis shoes and socks. Later when I got home, I took off the socks and shoes and there was a CLEAR line between where they had kept my feet clean and where the dirt and grime of the city had made its way onto my body. And I shall share this image with you :)

Gross, right? Not a flattering pic of my feets but I had to share!
Gross, right? Not a flattering pic of my feets but I had to share!

Also instead of doing my homework I’ve been addicted to since I got home from the beach… You should probably give it a gander…