Apologies, apologies: I arrived 6 days ago. I wrote a very long post a few nights ago, but the internet here is spotty, so it did not go through. Here are the basics:
Arrived in casablanca and then rode to Rabat. My first view from the air of Casablanca was some sort of walled farm compound peaking through a hole in the stormclouds. In Rabat, we had a grueling orientation, of which more later. Then three days ago we left Rabat and came to Fes. I have finally found housing here, in the dorms of the language centre at which I will spend the next 3 months studying.
Yesterday we had a tour of the medina in Fes. The highlight for me, as an engineer, was seeing the world’s oldest waterclock- a series of metal bowls, wooden beams, and open windows, though the mechanism that ran it has been destroyed. Wooo engineering!
I could talk at length about the medina, and will later, but I’m in a hurry, so let me tell this story:
Our guide had led us to the old house of a prominent and well to do judge. A man and a woman are taking care of the place before it can be sold, but it’s one of the biggest places in the medina. Our guide is first in line, I am second, and behind me are the 8 young ladies of the fulbright programme. I hear my guide mutter something sad. I look past him and see the man handing something to the woman. I ask what’s up, and he says “the husband just gave shopping money to the wife.”
So I say to him ” I guess Morocco and the US aren’t that different after all.” And we both have a good laugh. And I turn around to share the mirth, and look into 8 faces that would freeze a penguin to death. The guide shrugs to me, I shrug to him, and we keep going.
So that’s all for now. Happy birthday to me!
PS- We took a taxi home. It was a minivan. While driving, the door I was sitting next to slid open and I had to hold it closed the whole way home. I now understand why Homer asks god to bless his rocket house and all that dwell within his rocket house. NYC cabbies are chumps compared to the Moroccans.