Keep on Moroccan in the Free World
The weekend before last I went to Rabat, the capital of Morocco, to visit Mia. Traveling took literally all of Thursday to get there and all of Sunday to get home, but I feel like I saw a lot for two days. It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, and I’m going to avoid making my trademark generalizations about a place I’m definitely no expert on. However, I’ll do my best to describe my stay, as a lot of people seem to be dying to hear about it. It was disorienting to be in a country where I can speak neither of it’s main languages (French and Moroccan Arabic). Above is the Hassan Tower. Across from it is the Mausoleum where the two previous kings of Morocco are buried. The current King, Mohammed VI, has ruled since his father died in 1999. The Tower still does the call to prayer, which Mia can hear from her nearby house. More pictures and stories, after the jump.
Mia lives with her host-mom and host-sister in the Hassan neighborhood of Rabat. She is the only student in her program of 12 who lives in a house, and this is the inside of the courtyard. Mia’s mom hooked me up with a bed in Mia’s room and several excellent traditional meals, including a tajine. The house was really cool itself; modest and small but full of beautiful tiles. We also hung out and watched a bit of Star Academy 5, which the Western World is definitely missing out on.
It was actually way cooler than I could have predicted being in a place where Arabic is written everywhere. As a typography nut, I feel in love with the beautiful script. In general, Rabat seemed to be mix of Arabic style and French influence. With all of the art deco buildings in the tropical environment it can look a bit like what I imagine Miami to look like.
The currency, the dirham, is at 7.5 to the dollar, and many taxi rides we took tended to be about 15 or 20 dirhams (cheap!). Also, many of the deals are in the Medina, or traditional market. The Medina itself could be a whole blog post, but suffice it to say I was unable to walk away without buying white jeans and whole suit. Ironically, both are supposedly “made in Italy.” All of these pictures were taken by me, but with Mia’s camera. They came out great, so that seems to settle it in terms of pictures this summer. Take a look at pics from my weekend and her prior adventures on Mia’s flickr.