Lack of Update

I really don’t want to miss a day of updating, but I always feel lame and cheap if I just put something (such as this) so as to “update” with my lack of anything to say.

Today for class we went to the archaeological museum, which had a lot of interesting things but kind of seemed like it’d been built in the 1970s and not updated since. Not that I was around in the 70s. But I guess I’ve gotten spoiled by going to really cool museums in the US that are all about fancy lighting and laser security systems and two inch thick glass and stuff. I mean there were these skeletons, a couple of the earliest complete skeletons found in the region, and if I had a mind to I could have reached down into the enclosure and touch them. Obviously this was out of the question, but a layer of vaccuum-sealed 2 inch glass would have made it even more out of the question.

I most certainly was not supposed to take this picture. Sneaky sneaky, flash set to "off!"
I most certainly was not supposed to take this picture. Sneaky sneaky, flash set to "off!"

The thing I found most interesting about the museum was the huge quantity of Roman artifacts found in all corners of Rabat. It really drove home to me how wide the span and influence of the Roman Empire really had been. I mean, you think about it in Europe and it sounds normal enough. Famous stories of Romans in Egypt, sure. Israel? Of course. But Morocco? More surprising and interesting, I think.

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al-Hemem

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!