Two Quick Photos

April 30, 2008

Why yes, I am rather handsome and standing amongst the ruins of Carthage:

The Ambassador’s house looked even better with me there:


This is for Stephanie

April 30, 2008

I was once told to be on the lookout while in a foreign country for big-name American actors in crappy commercials for foreign products. Apparently Brad Pitt has starred in a Nepalese Pepsi commercial where he fights Ninjas.

Anyway, in the in-flight brochure on the way to Tunisia, Josh Holloway, the guy who plays Sawyer on Lost, is all ruggedly handsome looking in an advertisement for cologne.

Joke From Israel

April 30, 2008

So I heard this joke from a student with a Fulbright to Israel:

One day the Egyptian government loses a rabbit. It’s very important, so they call the CIA to come track it down. The CIA arrives with helicopters, satellite maps, infrared rabbit detectors, and spend almost five million dollars looking for the rabbit. But they don’t find it, so the Egyptians call in the KGB. The KGB Agents go into the forest, and the Egyptians here a lot of gunfire, but after a week the KGB admits defeat too. They can’t find the rabbit. So the Egyptians, depserate now, call in the Mossad. A single man arrives and goes into the forest. After a week, the Egyptians haven’t heard from him, so they go into the forest looking for him. As they come into a clearing, they see the man holding a groundhog pinned to a tree, punching it, and shouting “confess that you are a rabbit!”

So there that is.

Tunisia: Tunis

April 29, 2008

Saturday morning I woke up and hopped on a plane for Tunis, Tunisia. It was the first time that I took an airplane without being nervous at some point during the flight. Also, the first time I managed to travel alone without problems.

We stayed in a neighborhood of Tunis called Sidi Bou Said, which translates to, assuming Bou is Tunisian for Abu, Saint the Father of Sayeed. Anyway, It’s sort of an affluent subburb of the city, right on the mediterranean. The view from the hotel was spectacular – aqua blue waters as far as they eye could see, lush green vegetation, birds singing. I can see why the Carthaginians chose it for the site of their fortress super city.

The unit of currency in Tunisia is the Dinar, and it’s roughly 1 dinar = 85 cents. They are big, big, big coins.

The whole place had a much friendlier air than in Morocco, as well as less devoutly Moslem. I think I heard only one or two Hemdullilahs while there, and just one insha’allah. But I really only saw the swanky suburb, so who knows if this holds true throughout the whole country. Here are the highlights:

Sunday: A half day of presentations and then a trip to the Ruins of Carthage and a museum that had hundreds, if not thousands, of relics from the Roman era. This single museum has more stuff in it than every museum in Morocco added together. Dinner at a restaurant overlooking the sea in a neighborhood that reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of greece. Winding hilly roads, blue and white painted buildings close together, scrupulously clean, cobblestones, the whole nine yards.

Monday: Presentations all day and a reception at the residence of the American Ambassador to Tunisia. Dude. I need to get into politics: his house was sweet as hell. Before that, however, some self-righteous asshat started babbling about the Iraq war and how all American soldiers are evil during the Q&A session after the presentations. That sort of set the tone for the day. Look here: do you have a PhD in Materials Engineering? No? Then I have no interest in being lectured by you. Ugh.

Anyway, the point is that Tunisia is absolutely gorgeous and perhaps I will go back. The ruins of Carthage alone were absolutely flabbergastingly awesome.


April 25, 2008

Tomorrow I am off to Tunisia for a few days. Dude. Sweet. Expect updates later and I apologise for the delay!

Presidential Whatnot

April 23, 2008

Bear in mind that this morning, to hear the results of PA’s democratic primary, I tuned in to Al Jazeera English. It’s actually a pretty good news station, aside from the presenters making faces when they say “Israel” as if the word itself tastes bad. But a lot of Moroccans have made two good points about democracy to me: What’s the point of having a democracy when no one likes the president, and what’s the point of having a democracy if only the same 2 families keep swapping the presidency?

Anyway, what sort of fool would vote for Clinton? A few weeks ago she told a totally, 100% fabricated story about being awar hero while in Bosnia. She called it a misspeaking because it was late at night and she was tired, ignoring that the comment was made at 10 am (or something.) Look, I’m an easy guy. One bold-faced, blatant-ass lie, and I’ll move on to the next candidate. Even if he is a weiner like Obama. If, in some insane universe, Clinton becomes the next president, it’d be the same as Bush, but inverted: the 50% that are happy now will be unhappy then, and vice versa. We ought to have a president that more than 50.0001% of the electorate likes.

The fact that she’s fighting tooth and nail for personal gain doesn’t help neither. Here’s the way I see the future: she wins maybe half of the next elections. So does Obama. So Obama wins the candidacy, except Clinton pulls out every legal stop she can, taking the thing to court and futzing about with Florida and Michigan, and so on, to try and get herself appointed the party’s choice. This sucks cash out of both democratic candidates and lowers them to mudslinging. Meanwhile, McCain is already stockpiling money and letting the democractic candidates make his argument for him.

Anyway, the point is, McCain is our next president. Hooray!

Thus ends my first and last political post, ever. The more news I read, the more I just want to move way the hell out into the woods and not never see no one.

Pimps ‘n’ Hos

April 22, 2008

Now, here’s the thing. I’ve had more or less zero experience in the, so to speak, sex trade while here in Morocco. Sure, I’ve been to some western-style hotels where the bars are filled with hookers, but they never paid no mind to me. Except the one with 9 fingers, I guess.

Anyway. Ever since I shaved my beard, I’ve had a lot of trouble with pimps. At least three times they’ve asked me if I was “looking for some girls.” The last one said “you know, for —-ing.” Sorry, children read this blag. Anyway, it ocurred to me afterwards that this was a perfect setup for a joke: “Oh, that’s what they’re for?” “What? —-ing? I’ve been doing it wrong all these years!” And so on.

Anyway, I just got a call from my landlord. She was calling because she wanted to let me know that the police were cracking down on unmarried folks cohabitating. “You know,” she said, “the prostitutes.” Dude. What the hell? I’m sure she was just being nice, and letting me in on the loop, but still. Dude. Though, apparently in the Anfa neighborhood they’ve arrested 40 people.

Did I look pious when I had a beard and that kept the pimps away? Or did I just look like I had my end, so to speak, covered? Or does clean shaven Aaron look like he’s got lady problems?